WEST ORANGE, NJ - Community service organizations from all over West Orange came together yesterday to celebrate the start of the Holiday Season at Mayfair Farms.  Over 100 people attended the luncheon, which focused on West Orange community spirit.

Guests were greeted by chamber music played by West Orange High School musicians.  Paul Petigrow, Master of Ceremonies,  welcomed guests.  Sam Christiano led attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance, and Sophie Eisenbud, a Senior at West Orange High School, sang the National Anthems.  After Mr. Petigrow made introductions, Tekeste Gebremicael, President of the West Orange Chamber of Commerce, gave opening remarks.  

Mayor Robert Parisi then addressed attendees, recognizing the service and efforts of the various organizations and noted that with the busy and scheduled lives we lead, that the storm was a reminder that the disruptions West Orange experienced, difficult though they were, were manageable in comparison to other towns.  

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Congressman Rodney Freylinghuysen thanked the service organizations for their ongoing efforts to the West Orange community.

Pastor Douglas Adams of JOY Church of God provided the invocation and benediction, expressing his positivity for West Orange by saying that our 'differences illuminate our commonality.'

Joanne Kennedy, President of the Lions Club, introduced Guest Speaker Rabbi Eliezer Zwickler of Congregation AABJ&D in West Orange.  Zwickler also emphasized how the storm brought many residents to the place of recognition that we are 'not alone' despite how we may feel.  He spoke of community involvement developing connectedness, just as service to another brings us together.

After Mr. Petigrow presented the 50/50 raffle to the winner (the Chamber of Commerce donated their portion to the West Orange Food Pantry), Ken Broderick, UNICO President, called the door prizes.  The luncheon concluded at 2:00 and donated non-perishables were dropped off to the food pantry as well.

The next scheduled Chamber of Commerce event is the Annual Breakfast and State of the Township Address by Mayor Parisi on January 23, 2013.

For more information on the West Orange Chamber of Commerce, please visit: www.westorangechamber.com.

For more information on West Orange UNICO, please visit: orangewestorangeunico.com.

For more information on West Orange Rotary Club, please visit: westorangerotary.org.

For more information on the West Orange Lions Club, please contact Roger Schneider at sschnei102@aol.com.