Jennifer Chambers – The Detroit News
Building a menorah out of canned food takes lot of practice.
That’s a lesson four girls who attend Hebrew School at the Shul-Chabad Lubavitch learned during a trial run Wednesday night as they prepared to build a giant menorah out of 5,000 cans of food on Dec. 21, the official beginning of Chanukah.
First there’s creating a sturdy foundation. Then there’s finding cans similar in height for each new level. Last, there’s building a narrow stack for each candle that won’t topple over.
“This is harder than I thought,” said Cammy Swartz, 13, switching cans of green beans with cans of corn along with three other girls.
More than 30 students from the Shul, girls and boys preparing to make their bat and bar mitzvahs, are collecting canned food for the project that will be donated to a local food bank, Yad Ezra, in Berkley.
The group has about 1,000 cans. The menorah will be publicly lit about 5 p.m. Dec. 21 at a ceremony at BonaVenture Skating Rink in Farmington Hills.
Chanukah is a Jewish holiday that celebrates two things: a miracle in which one day’s worth of oil burned for eight days and the victory of the Jewish freedom fighters over the Syrian-Greek forces that tried to wipe out Judaism in the second century.
Levi Stein, a 20-year-old rabbi in training at the Shul, said children from the synagogue have made menorahs out of unusual objects in the past. Last year it was LEGOs. One year, while the Shul was under construction, a menorah was placed on a construction crane and fireworks were lit.
Peggy Honig said her 12-year-old son, Shlomo, who is part of the canned-food project, has closely followed news of the attacks in Mumbai and is collecting returnable bottles and cans to send money to India for rebuilding. That project and the canned food he is collecting are great lessons for the children about coming together to rebuild and give back, she said.
“You are coming of age and it’s time to take responsibility and give back and repair the world,” Honig said.