MIDTOWN MANHATTAN (PIX11) — On the first night of Hanukkah, menorahs both large and small were lit across New York City and across the country country to celebrate the start of the eight day festival of lights.

There were gifts, song and food. But because of a rise in antisemitic attacks, there was also concern.

Just south of Central Park, many gathered as the world’s largest menorah was lit Sunday night. It stands 36 feet tall, according to Guinness World Records.

Mayor Eric Adams reminded the hundreds attending the festival of lights celebration that New York City is home to more Jews than any other place in the world, except Israel.

“We should not have an increase in antisemitism,” Mayor Adams said to the crowd. “An increase in AAPI violence, increase in African-American,  Spanish-speaking, Muslim. Not in our city, the city of diversity that shows other countries how to live together.”

Mayor Adams referenced two recent antisemitic attacks in the city that remain unsolved. Police are hunting for a man on a bicycle. He’s accused of knocking a 63-year-old man to the ground in Central Park as he hurled antisemitic slurs at him.

Police also looking for a group of teens who threatened to use a stun gun on an 18 year old while spewing anti-jewish hatred in Midwood.

“Antisemitism is darkness,” Rabbi Shmuel Butman, the director of Youth Lubavitcher programs, told PIX11 News. “You don’t dispel darkness with a stick. Dispel darkness with light.”

The Bogen Kloper family from the Upper West side have been coming to this Hanukkah lighting for a generation and recent antisemitic attacks would not stop them from celebrating. They even danced the hora with PIX11’s Magee Hickey.

“It’s  just awesome,” dad Jordan Bogen said. “To show my kids for the past 15 years the spirit of New York. This is not just Jews, but for everyone.”

Mom Robin Kloper said there were some worries on her mind.

“Of course we’ll always thinking about it,” Kloper said. “Eyeballing all around, but in the back of my mind, we are here for everyone.”