Chanukkah Celebrated on High with Construction of 20' Menorah

Happy Chanukah! The menorah shines brighter each night during the lunar month of Kislev – a tradition that lasts 8 crazy nights in accordance with ancient Jewish text. Historically the holiday is a celebration of successful rebellion against an oppresive King named Antiochus who tried to ban freedom of religion and keep the Jewish people from practicing in their Temple.As families gather to enjoy latkes and gift-giving during the Jewish festival of lights they recall the miracle of the oil that stubbornly burned in commemoration of the triumph of the rededication of the Temple.

Rabbi Larry Freedman of Temple Beth Jacob confirmed this history for us during a Chanukah party held at Kol Yisrael in Newburgh. "It was basically about standing up for your rights."  He went on to explain that discussing the overthrow of a kingdom while living in it doesn't necessarily make for peaceful relationships. Therefor, the story may have evolved to center more intently on the miracle that was believed granted by G-d to the Jewish people when the oil lasted. The kids of Temple Beth Jacob, Agudas Israel and members of the Jewish Community center came together on Sunday to construct the world's tallest menorah!

Stephen Schwartz is the lego master behind the Building Blocks workshop that enabled several hundred guests to join forces in order to raise the Chunukah lights nearly 20' high. The program was sponsored by Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County and the community was invited to attend. Temple Beth Jacob Religious School principal Nancy Gross was beaming at the sight of such amazing teamwork. Nancy told us that the school curriculum is not just academically promising it is innovative and hands-on fun on any given day. Students discover the holidays, the history, the Hebrew text and even the language in an after-school program that runs supplementary to traditional k - 12 educations. Students come from as far away as Poughkeepsie to partake in Jewish studies at Temple Beth Jacob.

Parents and children alike delighted in the process of interlocking hundreds of layers of lego blocks. Candles were lit just after sundown and the base was crowned with the lego-labra as the instrument of religious celebration was raised high before the builders. It was a wonderful evening filled with fun and laughter for the Jewish people and friends of the Jewish community who came together in the spirit of the holidays.

Want to get your celebration on? Our friends as Newsday put together a list of 10 Chanukah events involving dreidels, candylands and even a parade! Check out that awesome list HERE.

Chabad sponsored a Menorah Building event at Home Depot in preparation for the holiday. Nearly 30 kids came to make their own menorahs! Shown Lisa and Sam Sacks with Rifka Serebryanski