The Art Menorah is created, every year anew, as a joint project of local community members.
For the past five years, Chabad of Bingham Farms has hosted the Public Menorah Lighting of the Art Menorah. The Art Menorah is created, every year anew, as a joint project of local community members. Every single year a different medium is used, but the final product always expresses the theme of “Unite to bring light”.
This year, COVID-19 rocked the globe, and we were faced with an unprecedented challenge. While we were committed to continue the yearly tradition of uniting to bring and spread light, we were unwilling to compromise the health of the event participants. That’s how the idea of a drive-in Menorah Lighting emerged, where the community would be able to celebrate the festival of lights together, but apart.
As soon as we had finalized the details of a COVID-friendly event, we started working on the Menorah.
We instantly knew that we wanted to highlight the selfless work of our neighborhood heroes, the frontline workers, who stood up and showed up to serve the community in these trying times.
Special kits containing magnetic squares and decorating materials were distributed throughout the community so that families would be able to decorate the magnets with an art expressing gratitude.
This year’s Art Menorah was shaped with these magnets using the artistic method of contrast of warm vs. cool colors. Hillel Day School, led by art teacher Lauren Cohen, and the Cheder decorated some magnets as well.
“Lauren Cohen is, in addition to being extremely talented, one of the kindest and most giving people that I know. In fact, the entire idea of an Art Menorah came about thanks to Lauren’s inspiration,” said Moussia Geisinsky.
The Menorah was made with over 600 of those unique pieces of art, resulting in a gorgeous “Gratitude Art Menorah!”
The drive-in event took place on Monday, Dec 14, the fifth night of Chanukah when we lit five candles. The fifth night is a significant night because it marks the pivotal moment in the holiday when, for the first time, the majority of the Menorah lamps are lit and darkness is being overpowered. What a fitting message to our current situation!
David Grossman from Pegasus Entertainment, co-sponsor of the event, lit the Menorah. The lighting was followed by a tribute to frontline workers: a video collage with a message of thanks from the community and the recitation of a Psalm to pray for the wellbeing of the frontline workers and their families. A spectacular fire show, exciting interactive games played from the safety of your own car, delicious, fresh donuts made on the spot by volunteers of the Dakota Friendship Express Chanukah Edition, Chef Cari’s food truck, a video game and more, made the event one that will be remembered for years!
But, above all, being united to spread light in the middle of the pandemic, celebrating past and present miracles, and the message of hope that is delivered by the Chanukah candles filled our hearts with great warmth and renewed hope.
With nearly 100 cars, over 300 people took part in the festivities.
Now that Chanukah is over, the magnets are going to be framed and given out to frontline workers with an inscription that expresses our eternal gratitude to the real heroes of COVID-19.
Rabbi Bentzion Geisinsky is co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Bingham Farms with his wife, Moussia Geisinsky