Publicizing The Miracle
Chanukah decorations fulfill a mitzvah known as persume nisa.
.By Lynne Meredith Schreiber
or 20 years, Cathy Cantor
has decorated her West
Bloomfield Colonial for
Chanukah. She keeps boxes
in the basement, filled with holiday-
related treasures that she has collected.
There are six snow globes, soft wall
hangings bearing the word Shalom,
menorahs that her three children
made in preschool, even Chanukah
votive holders and garlands with six-
sided stars. After Thanksgiving (for
which she also decorates the house),
she wraps silver ribbons around the
staircase banister, lines the mantle .
with lights, fills a vase with star-stud-
ded silver sprays. Everything in the
house becomes bedecked with
Chanukah — a trend that Cantor says
adds warmth to the house.
"It enhances the feeling of the holi-
day for the family," says Cantor, who
outfits her 4,000-square-foot house for
many holidays throughout the year.
The Cantors belong to Temple Israel.
There's nothing wrong with putting
up festive Chanukah decorations, say
area rabbis. It's not a matter of copy-
ing Christmas — although Chanukah
decorations are often wedged in with
Christmas ornaments in stores.
In fact, going over-the-top
Chanukah decorating fulfills a mitz-
vah known as persume nisa, or "publi-
cizing the miracle."
Chanukah marks the miraculous
outcome of the Maccabean war with
the Greeks. Although the Greeks
were more powerful, the besieged
Jews won. What's more, when they
entered the desecrated Temple to
clean it up, they discovered only
enough oil to light the menorah for a
day. Somehow, it stayed lit for eight
Through the generations, our Sages
have instructed Jews to light an eight-
light menorah, known as a Chanukiah,
and to place it in a window, facing the
PUBLICIZING on page 20