Every Jewish Detroiter has the chance to light up the 7-foot menorah that will be used in a Franklin public Chanukah celebration without even lighting a match.
Half art project, half social media experiment and all about performing mitzvot, Chabad of Bingham Farms’ planned “Art Menorah” will be constructed with a front, metal magnetic panel that will be covered with magnetized photos of Detroit Jews performing all sorts of good deeds and Jewish rituals.
It will be the center of the celebration set for 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, at the Franklin Village Green, 32455 Franklin Road. In addition to the menorah lighting, the celebration will include soups, latkes, donuts and hot apple cider, unique gifts for sale, and crafts and activities including “fidget dreidel” making.
Here is how to be part of the Art Menorah Project:
Before Dec. 10, find or take a photo of a family member performing a mitzvah — it can be any good deed from delivering food to the needy, putting coins in a tzedakah box, baking a challah, kissing a mezuzah, studying Torah or visiting the sick — and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Photo submissions will also be entered in a drawing for a chance to either win a drone or a month’s worth of freshly baked challot for each Shabbat.
“The message of Chanukah is bringing more light into the world,” Rabbi Bentzi Geisinsky said. “Having a menorah [decorated] with photos of people performing mitzvot — such as helping others, putting on tefillin, putting coins in a tzedakah box or shaking a lulav and etrog — shows that Jews can bring light into the world all year long before we even kindle the flames of the first Chanukah candle.”
Chabad of Bingham Farms started collecting photos for the project at a recent “Chocolate Factory” family event where children had the opportunity to make chocolate gelt and wire their own LED and copper menorahs. Geisinsky is hoping to receive hundreds more photos to add to the mosaic.
This year’s design is the brainchild of Geisinsky’s wife, Moussia Geisinsky, and is a continuation of last year’s collaborative menorah, where Jewish schoolchildren around the area decorated tiles to be adhered to a one-of-a-kind menorah structure used in a similar public celebration. Since last year, Moussia said other communities have replicated the idea for celebrations in their cities.
“The design will show how doing mitzvot brings Jews of different backgrounds together to bring more light into the world,” said Moussia, a native of Paris, who lovingly recalls public menorah lightings at the base of the Eifel Tower. “Personally, my favorite mitzvah to do all year long is lighting candles before Shabbat.”
Here are some photos that will be shrunk down, magnetized and placed on the Bingham Farms Art Menorah.