When you live in a community with a growing Jewish population, many of whom lay low in terms of their Jewishness, having a large Public Menorah and then over 100 people attending a Menorah Lighting is a hugely significant achievement, says Rabbi Odom Brandman of Chabad Buckhurst Hill.
In keeping with the joy and inclusiveness of Chanukah, its universal message of peace, freedom from oppression and the spreading of warmth, goodness and kindness and constantly needing to think out of the box to create something exciting and attractive each year, Chabad of Buckhurst Hill has come up with some fantastic Menorahs over the years and this year did not disappoint.
On Sunday, over 100 men, women and children gathered at the top of Queens Road in the centre of Buckhurst Hill for the annual Public Menorah Lighting in the presence of members of the local Parish Council and the local community. Following the lighting, everyone was invited back to the Chabad Centre for a Family Chanukah Party featuring a 6ft high Candy Menorah. The excitement of the children as they walked through the door could be seen on their faces and while they were waiting for the Menorah to be lit they enjoyed seven stations of crafts and games. These stations included – making an edible Menorah, candle making, gelt table football, life size sit in dreidel, candy floss, wheel of fortune and Chanukah hama beads. Music played and everyone enjoyed hot latkes, doughnuts and other refreshments.
Other Menorahs over the years have included Chocolate, Pearls, Tombola, Recycled Phones, Coins and perhaps the most famous of all, the World’s first Single Malt Whisky Menorah.
Rabbi Odom & Henny Brandman moved to Buckhurst Hill 13 years ago. One of their first projects was the arranging of a public Menorah at the top of Queens Road. This has been warmly received by local residents and has the strong support of contacts on the County, District and Parish Councils.
Rabbi Odom Brandman, director of the Buckhurst Hill Chabad Centre, said “Chanukah is such a happy time of year and it was amazing to see the community come out in great numbers to support this fantastic event as they do every year in growing numbers. Chanukah is a time to spread light, warmth and community spirit and this event along with others we arrange goes a long way in encouraging this spirit in people”.