Hanukkah in the Valley - Modern Twist help send ancient message

By Emily Atwoon 11/30/07

This year, legos are part of spreading the message of Hanukkah in Pleasanton. Standing 9-feet tall in the middle of Stoneridge SHopping Center, the Legp menorah is just one way to celebrate the eight-day festival of lights.

Marking the first night of Hanukaah, the Lego menorah will be lit at the third annual Chanukah Wonderland at 5 p.m. next Tuesday at the mall. Fifty students of the Chabad Hebrew School will construct the menorah, and afterwards the will be donated to a Jewish orphanage.

Rabbi Raleigh Resnick of Chabad of the Tri-Valley said the mixing of modern and ancient practices is a way to share what the festivities are all about.

"Every year we try doing something with the community that has a modern twist, but with the same message of triumph of good and kindness," he said. "That's our message. Every night you add one more light and every day we have to increase more acts of kindness."

Resnick said they expect about 500 people at the event, which also includes games and crafts, build-a-dreidel and face painting.

Good trumping evil and darkness is part of the Hanukkah tradition that is held every year to remember a miracle more than 2.100 years ago. Syrian Greeks tried to assimilate the Jewish people (the Macabees) to the Greek way of life, putting restrictions on their customs and religious freedom. When oils were defiled, the Jewish people had only one jar of oil - enough for one day. Miraculously the oil was said to have lasted eight days until newm pure oil was produced.

"The message of Hanukkah is alive today," Resnick said. "We thank G‑d that in America we can practice and identify ourselves as Jewish People."

"In the area of making the message of Hanukkah enticing for the whole cimmunity, we're using modern techniques to transmit an ancient message," he said. "Hanukkah has become commercialized, which is good in a way. There's a lot of rich meaning behind it - it's quite profound and relavent."