The annual public menorah-lighting and celebration in Manhattan’s Sutton Park, on E. 57th St., always attracts officials and dignitaries, but this year it was graced by a neighborhood resident with perhaps the broadest reach of all: U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.

He was honored with lighting the shamash (“the helper candle”) at the event on the eighth evening of Chanukah at a ceremony hosted by Rabbi Shmuel and Raizy Metzger, co-directors of Chabad at Beekman Sutton. Guterres, who served as prime minister of Portugal from 1995 to 2002, noted his local ties as well, remarking that it was “a great pleasure to be with all of you to celebrate Chanukah together as neighbors.”

In his remarks, Guterres noted the ongoing impact of the Rebbe Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory— on the international community. “An event like this,” Guterres told the crowd, “is also a reminder of the efforts of Rabbi Schneerson and others, and the need for all of us to be working for religious freedom around the globe for all people. [The] shamash will give its light to eight others and will itself continue to shine bright.”

Also in attendance were New York congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, outgoing councilman Ben Kallos and incoming councilwoman Julie Menin. Each candle was lit by another honoree, including Dr. Ezra Gabbay on behalf of frontline health-care workers; Israel Zipes, an 87-year-old Korean War veteran who honored the armed forces; and Rabbi Joshua Metzger, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Midtown Manhattan with his wife, Brocha.

Professor Edward Price, a political economist and former British trade official, was master of ceremonies at the family-oriented event, which included a live orchestra, juggling show and Chanukah treats.

Guterres is presented with a copy of Social Vision, a book on the Rebbe’s social weltanschauung
Guterres is presented with a copy of Social Vision, a book on the Rebbe’s social weltanschauung

On behalf of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality and Society, Jesse Noioy presented Guterres with a copy of Social Vision, a book on the Rebbe’s social Weltanschauung by Philp Wexler with Chabad.org’s Eli Rubin.

The significance of the visit by the secretary-general on the holiday of Chanukah held special meaning for Metzger. He told Chabad.org: “Yesterday’s neighborly visit and warm remarks celebrating the Chanukah miracle by our dear friend, the U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, was reminiscent of Psalm 117 recited daily on Chanukah: ‘Praise the Lord, all nations, laud Him, all peoples.’ ”