Mendy Kaye, from Sydney Australia, spread the light and warmth of the menorah to the streets of Los Angeles in an innovative way this Chanukah: he strapped a 3 foot menorah to the back of his sportbike motorcycle.
Mendy, the son of a shliach of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in Sydney, Australia, said, “There are so many Xmas trees and lights in LA, that some Jewish people feel left out. I wanted to bring the symbol of Chanuka to people in a way that they could really appreciate it, a way that makes them feel proud of their Judaism.”
Throughout Chanuka, Kaye organized many Chanuka parties, led a parade around Los Angeles on the fifth night of Chanuka, and gave out menorahs to hundreds of appreciative Jews. He explained the story of Chanuka to all that would listen.
The response was overwhelming. Rabbi Steinberg, Senior Chaplain of Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department said, “I was concerned at first for Mendy’s safety, however, I observed people beeping their horns, shouting ‘Happy Chanuka!’ to him. I believe Mendy’s sincerity is his best protection.”
Mendy remarked, “The menorah was so big that many doubted that I would manage to get it on the bike, let alone ride it! But after a few hours of brainstorming and sawing, the menorah was up and running.”
Keeping the menorah going took some quick thinking as well.
The menorah was powered by a small motorcycle battery that was under the seat, so when the battery was drained right before a parade, Kaye realized that in order to jump start it, he would have to take the menorah off and get jumper cables, which would take some time.
After a quick call to a friend, he was told an alternative way to start the bike would be to “pop start” it, while rolling it. Thankfully, this worked, and the parade could continue as planned.