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California Town Will Glow with 28 Chanukah Menorahs

Because someone stole a homemade Chanukah menorah from the yard of a home in Agoura Hills, the streets of the town northwest of Los Angeles will be even more aglow this year during the Festival of Lights.

The stolen menorah, standing 6 feet high, had been constructed by Richard Bliss, his wife and their three children. It was standing on the lawn in front of their house, when a particularly mean-spirited thief made off with it.

The crime was never solved. But in response, 100 members of Temple Beth Haverim gathered in a local park a week ago with plastic pipes, pliers and electrical cords to fashion 28 more menorahs.

The chanukiot, each 4 feet high, with “candles” made of white plastic piping and topped by light bulbs, were to be lit in front of 28 homes Sunday evening, as the eight-day festival began.

“I am 100 percent convinced that without the vandalism last year, there would not have been 28 families building menorahs this year,” said Richard Bliss, who supervised the project. “Without that bad seed being planted last year, this event would not have blossomed.”

Rabbi Gary Johnson said the project would help instill in young members of the temple the tradition of displaying the menorah.

“Rather than getting back at someone, it is more of a feeling of ‘Let’s be positive and create something beautiful,’ ” said Johnson. “It was a consciousness-raising activity.”

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