Children put finishing touches on giant menorah, brick by colorful brick

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Amit Horowitz, 7,who attends JPDS-NC, throws his arm up in glee after being allowed to climb the base of Ohev Sholom – The National Synagogue’s 16-foot tall menorah.Suzanne Pollak
Amit Horowitz, 7,who attends JPDS-NC, throws his arm up in glee after being allowed to climb the base of Ohev Sholom – The National Synagogue’s 16-foot tall menorah.
Suzanne Pollak

The youngest students at the Jewish Primary Day School of the Nation’s Capital last week helped to build a new landmark to highlight the upcoming holiday of Chanukah.

Made of building blocks, a 16-foot-tall, blue and white menorah with battery-operated candles on top graces the front of Ohev Sholom –The National Synagogue.


The monument can be viewed by anyone driving along that section of 16th Street.

Calling the structure “the largest menorah ever,” the congregation’s Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld said that those involved “could definitely do a Shehecheyanu” blessing over the new menorah.

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The oversized modular blocks were purchased from Everblock Systems of New York, which creates blocks for trade show exhibits and special events.

Herzfeld contacted the company’s founder, Arnon Rosan, a Jewish day school graduate, who then designed the 18-foot-wide menorah using 500 blocks. The structure was stabilized using dowels inserted inside the blocks. Two strong wires of a kind used on aircraft were attached on both sides of the candelabra.


Rosan, together with three men from his company and the synagogue’s staff, assembled the menorah on Nov. 12. JPDS students in pre-kindergarten through third grade stopped by to learn about the holiday and work on the yellow candleholders, which will hold candles that will be lit by remote control. They come with a battery pack inside and appear to be flickering when turned on.

“Millions of people are going to drive by and know it’s Chanukah,” Herzfeld told the students, who seemed more interested in amassing the blocks and climbing on them.

Chanukah festivities elsewhere include the annual Chabad of Upper Montgomery County’s Chanukah parade that features a menorah attached to the front of a Rockville Volunteer Fire Department truck. The Dec. 6 parade begins at 6 p.m. It marks the first night of the holiday.

Festivities begin at the fire station on Hungerford Drive and pass through several neighborhoods in Rockville and Potomac. There will be an outdoor menorah lighting and party at 8 p.m. at the Chabad in Gaithersburg.

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@SuzannePollak

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