Chanukah Menorahs to Light Up Cities
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Chanukah Menorahs to Light Up Cities

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Huge menorahs are being placed at two major sites in Manhattan and at all New York City bridges and tunnel entrances and in ten other cities, two of them in Canada, on which first candles will be lit in public prayer ceremonies on Chanukah eve, Dec. 24.

All but one of the menorahs is being sponsored by the Lubavitch organization. The exception is one planned for a mall on Broadway a few blocks from the Lincoln Center on Manhattan’s West Side. That one is sponsored by the Lincoln Square Synagogue, a major Orthodox synagogue, and the candles will be lit by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, its spiritual leader.

Rabbi Shmuel Butman, Lubavitch Youth Organization director, said the Lubavitch menorah on Fifth Avenue is 30 feet tall, the world’s tallest menorah. The menorahs to be stationed at the 10 Manhattan bridge and tunnel entrances by the Lubavitch organization are each seven feet tall. All of the Lubavitch menorahs are steel. The Lincoln Square menorah is made of wood, according to Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald, educational director of the synagogue.

The Lincoln Square Synagogue encountered considerable apposition in its finally successful efforts to get official approval of its menorah. Community Planning Board No. 7 and the 72nd Street Block Association both denied permission. The planning board was overruled by City Parks Commissioner Gordon Davis on Nov. 20. That menorah is 14 feet high, Buchwald told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.


Butman said the menorahs at the bridge and tunnel sites are seven feet high. Lubavitch menorahs also are planned for Philadelphia, Cleveland, Morristown, N.J., New Haven, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Richmond, Va. and in Montreal and Toronto. Butman said these menorahs vary in size from 10 feet in height to 30 feet, adding that 30 feet is the tallest height permitted by Jewish religious law.

The Lubavitch menorah in New York has been erected each year for five years. Butman said more than 5000 people are expected at the Fifth Avenue site for the first candle lighting Dec. 24, adding that the three-story menorah will be lit by celebrities, with real candles and one-foot glass chimneys to protect the flames from wind gusts. He said he based his estimate of the audience on the size of those who witnessed the lighting of the first candle last year.

He said the menorah will be lit, using Consolidated Edison cherry picker cranes, at 4:30 p.m., starting Dec. 24, on each Chanukah night, except on Friday, Dec. 29 when the candle will be lit at 2 p.m. and on Saturday, Dec. 30 when it will be lit at 7:30 p.m.

Buchwald said the synagogue’s 250-pound wooden menorah, made by a young congregant who is a carpenter, will be stored after the holiday for use again in the future. The ceremony this month will mark the first time a menorah has been erected at the Broadway mall, Buchwald said. The Lubavitch menorahs also will be stored for future use, Butman said.

He said the bridge and tunnel menorah placements were arranged through the New York City Transportation Authority at the request of Gesh Remin, an association of Jewish workers at the bridges and tunnels, a member agency of the Council of Shomrim Societies, which is an affiliate of the Council of Jewish Organizations in Civil Service.


Butman said that the Lubavitch movement plans to distribute 150,000 Chanukah kits in the New York metropolitan area. Each kit has a menorah, 44 candles, a brochure with a message from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Schneerson, a Jewish calendar and the laws and blessings of Chanukah. He said nearly one million more menorahs will be distributed on all continents.

He said Lubavitcher Hasidim will make visits to shopping centers, office buildings, public meeting places and homes in Jewish neighborhoods with special attention to Jews in hospitals, nursing homes, senior citizens centers and orphanages.

Butman said Lubavitch emissaries will organize Chanukah parties on New York college campuses at which students will be given menorahs while efforts are made to impress them with the importance of using them. Visits will also be conducted to campuses in other parts of the United States and Chanukah programs will be held in hundreds of afternoon Hebrew schools and Sunday schools and for synagogue youth groups, he said.

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