HANUKKAH BEGINS: Chabad makes menorah from Legos

By Meera Pal 12/04/07

Legos aren't just for playtime anymore.

Tonight, the Chabad of Tri-Valley will celebrate the first day of Hanukkah by lighting the first candle on a menorah made entirely of Legos, the popular plastic building blocks.

The idea to build the traditional, multibranched candelabra for the eight-day Festival of Lights came to Rabbi Raleigh Resnick after reading about a similar project from the Chabad of San Mateo.

"We are always looking for ways to make Hanukkah come alive for the kids," Resnick said.

About 50 students from the Chabad Hebrew school gathered Sunday to continue building the 9-foot menorah; they were given a head start by some of the adults from the Chabad.

"We were surprised when he told us it was going to be Legos," said 11-year-old San Ramon resident Eden Kovler.

It took the students less than 20 minutes to add to the height of the menorah, with cries of "taller, taller, taller" meeting Resnick's first attempt at topping the Lego stand with the menorah.

"I guarantee, no child in this room will ever forget this Hanukkah," Resnick said.

The Lego menorah, which will preside over the Hanukkah Wonderland event at Stoneridge Mall tonight, will be replaced by a regular metal menorah for the remaining seven days of Hanukkah.

Any of the 2,300 Lego pieces that can be reused will be donated to the Ohel Children's Home, an orphanage for Orthodox Jewish children in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Tuesday's celebration at Stoneridge Mall, marking the

first day of Hanukkah, will include a dreidel-building workshop, crafts and games, live music and dancing and treats.

On Saturday, the Chabad will hold a menorah lighting at the corner of Main Street and Del Valle Parkway in Pleasanton, with a special appearance by Rep. Jerry McNerney, and Hanukkah treats of latkes and jelly doughnuts.

Resnick said traditional menorahs typically are made of precious metals, but he has seen menorahs made of chocolate and ice.

"All these creative gimmicks, are really about getting the kids involved ... and spreading the miracle of Hanukkah," Resnick said.

If you go

The Chabad of the Tri-Valley will host the third annual Hanukkah Wonderland and light the 9-foot Lego menorah from 5 to 6:30 p.m. today in the Grand Court at Stoneridge Mall in Pleasanton.

The Chabad will also host a Hanukkah celebration and menorah lighting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the corner of Main Street and Del Valle Parkway in Pleasanton.

For more information, visit http://www.jewishtrivalley.com.