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November 22, 2002 - Image 88

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-11-22

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on page 22

Court ruled several times that doing so
is not a violation of church-state separa-
tion "because the menorah is a symbol
of religious freedom, which is the basis
of the Constitution," Finman explains.
"I've never gotten any flack from it,"
says Finman. "It usually is a welcome
sight to have a public menorah because
Chanukah is usually around
[Christmas]. It's a heart-warming and
identifying thing to most Jews."
For 12 years, Rochel Kagan, an Oak
Park resident and a past-president of
the Lubavitch Womens Organization,
erected a plywood dreidel-shaped house
at Crosswinds and Orchard malls and
at the West Bloomfield JCC. It was col-
orful and enticing, and the dreidel
house —like some 30 others around
the country — provided arts and crafts
activities for children as well as a video
explaining the holiday. Children walked
away with a goody bag of Chanukah-
related items.
"Jewish kids shouldn't feel like they're
being left out of a fun experience at this
time of year," says Kagan. The dreidel
house was intended "to promote a
greater awareness of the miracle of
Chanukah. Kids were really excited."
In New York City, the Chabad-
Lubavitch children's programming arm,
Tzvios Hashem, erects a Chanukah
house every year on Fifth Avenue. Its
windows rotate, showing painted scenes
that tell the Chanukah story.
Inside, where some 8,000 people visit
each year, program director Rabbi
Shimmy Weinbaum says, there is a
giant dreidel house, with activity
rooms. Children hear the Chanukah
story on CD and watch flashing lights
illustrate the scenes. They can also use
computers with Chanukah software,
watch Chanukah vide6s, make latkes,
do art projects and watch adults make
oil by pressing olives.
In his own home, Finman welcomes
guests all week long for latkes. His chil-
dren display a Happy Chanukah ban-
ner and make decorations, which he
hangs everywhere.
"The ideal decoration for Chanukah
is that every Jew should light a meno-
rah," says Rabbi Spolter. "There can be
no more beautiful spectacle than that.
But if somebody wants to light his
house with a religiously oriented
Chanukah display, I don't think it's
wrong. It shows Jewish pride." ❑

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