HOLMDEL, N.J. - As you enter Bell Works, a Menorah greets you, lit for Hanukkah. Beyond the entrance way, the scene opens up to the sounds and sights of Hanukkah. The Art Menorah is the center of attention and various crafts, just perfect for children, line the area. A DJ helps emceed the event as well as craft songs for the season. Many families of many faiths were in attedance.
Chabad of Holmdel celebrated with the entire Holmdel community on Sunday as they lit a very different menorah. It was an 'Art Menorah' - many feet high and made of wood - that involved hundreds of volunteers and most particularly, young children. On this day, the children eagerly drew and colored their special tiles and placed them on the Menorah (see photos).
Menorah is complete:
There was sand art, donut decorating, a dreidle counting contest, tile drawing and creation for the Art Menorah and many other fun items. Anyone who brought an appetite dined on latkes (of course with sour cream and apple sauce), hot soups and donuts. The DJ gave the location extra seasonal energy as well. Many local dignitaries were there as well to visit and support Chabad of Holmdel.
According to Rabbi Galperin, "Hanukkah is the festival of lights and recalls the victory more than 2000 years ago when of a military that was weak but spiritually strong. The Jewish people were faced against a mighty force, a ruthless enemy that wanted to overrule the holy land and threatened to engulf the land and its people with darkness. After this victory culminated the dedication of the sanctuary in Jerusalem and the kindling of the Menorah."
Their website http://jewishholmdel.org helps share the meaning of Chanukah and what it symbolizes:
Chanukah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods.
The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication,” and is thus named because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple (as you’ll read below). Also spelled Hanukkah (or variations of that spelling), the Hebrew word is actually pronounced with a guttural, “kh” sound, kha-nu-kah, not tcha-new-kah.
What Chanukah Commemorates
In the second century BCE, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who tried to force the people of Israel to accept Greek culture and beliefs instead of mitzvah observance and belief in G‑d. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the service of G‑d.
When they sought to light the Temple's Menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum), they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks. Miraculously, they lit the menorah and the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.
To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah.
Rabbi Shmaya Galperin made everyone feel welcome. He engaged all guests and encouraged the children to share the excitement, enjoy making crafts and create beautiful tiles as the Art Menorah was completed at long last. Rabbi Galperin called different children and families up to light the candles of the Art Menorah and craft making, conversation and dining continued. The Menorah will be on public display at Bell Works.