Hanukkah begins with lighting of ice menorah

December 1, 2010 6:44:21 PM PST
A Sunnyvale Jewish organization will celebrate the start of Chanukah today by lighting a 7-foot menorah made of ice.

The menorah is part of Chabad of Sunnyvale's seventh-annual "Chanukah Wonderland" event, held at the South Peninsula Hebrew Day School, Rabbi Yisroel Hecht said.

The menorah will be carved on site tonight by Mark Davis, an East Bay-based ice sculptor, and is the latest creative version of the traditional Jewish candelabrum that the Chabad has commissioned, Hecht said.

In the past, the menorah has been made out of donated canned goods or thousands of pennies that were later given to charity, he said.

"We try to come up with a captivating theme for the menorah, something that will get the children excited and inspire them as they celebrate Chanukah," he said.

Chanukah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian-Greek Army in ancient Israel and reclamation of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

When the group sought to light the Temple's menorah, they found only a day's worth of olive oil, but the supply lasted for eight days.

The Chanukah holiday that arose from those events "represents the power of hope, even when things are cold and dark and seem hopeless," Hecht said.

Tonight's celebration will also feature live music, traditional Jewish food, and Chanukah-themed arts and crafts.

The event is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. at the school, located at 1030 Astoria Drive in Sunnyvale. The menorah will be kindled at 7:30 p.m.

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