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This menorah from Artloft in
Birmingham makes a dramatic
statement in any window.
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public street. That way, we- publicize our
"The Talmud says it's more hiddur
mitzvah, a beautification of the mitzvah,
extra specially good, if each person in
the house lights his own menorah," says
Rabbi Reuven Spolter, of Young Israel of
In the Spolter house, each of their
three children lights a menorah, usually
the ones made in school "because it's
more precious for them."
"We try not to do so much about
presents," says Spolter. "We give out
Chanukah gelt. In the sources, it's
brought down that gelt was a present for
learning, so we try to do something edu-
Rabbi Joseph Krakoff, of
Congregation Shaarey Zedek, agrees.
"The absolute goal is to [publicize the
mitzvah]," he says. "Putting our
Chanukiah in the window [shows that]
we are proud to be Jewish.
"We live in a society that is largely not
Jewish, so it's very easy to pick up their
customs. I want kids to grow up
absolutely loving their tradition. I look ,
at it as hiddur mitzvah — if you put up
decorations in your home, as long as
they are appropriate and reinforce the
beauty of Chanukah, its like picking out
the most beautiful lulav and etrog."
Rona Dalin's late husband started dec-
orating their Bloomfield Township
home for the holiday when his children
came home from school, asking why
they didn't have a tree in December.
Now that the kids are grown, Dalin, a
Temple Israel member, does a little deco-
rating for herself— she hangs dancing,
blinking dreidels in the family room.
"It was more festive in the house,
more fun, and the kids Couldn't say,
`Why don't we decorate?', which was a
pretty usual question for them. Even
some of their Jewish friends [had
Christmas trees]," says Dalin.
"Their dad took a very pro-Chanukah
stance. He said, 'Chanukah is just as
much fun — in fact, it's more fun and
I'll show you.'"
The late Dalin collected wreath-like
streamers of evergreen, white and blue
streamers and blue and white lights. He
filled the public rooms of the house with
dreidel mobiles and braided streamers.
By far the most legendary Chanukah
decorators are Lubavitch Chassidim, a
sect of religious Jews who believe that
when all Jews observe the Torah, the
Messiah will arrive.
To that end, local Lubavitchers strap
larger-than-life menorahs to the roofs of
their cars and drive around with them
throughout the holiday. T nst year, as
many as 60 cars joined in an Oak Park
parade of menorah-decorated autos.
"The Lubavitcher Rebbe (the late
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson,
who died in 1994) encouraged that the
menorah be taken out from inside the
home' and put into public places," says
Rabbi Herschel Finman, of Oak Park.
"The whole purpose of lighting a meno-
rah is in order to publicize the miracle of
The Rebbe also encouraged followers
to construct large menorahs in public
places such as government buildings and
shopping centers. The U.S. Supreme
PUBLICIZING on page 22