The tradition of Hanukkah was brought to life Sunday with the help of Legos.
The second night of Hanukkah was celebrated by the Clifton Park Chabad at one of the Clifton Park Center outdoor storefronts, which stood out from the other shops because of the dreidel, menorah and Star of David decals on the windows. Inside, people prepared food, children made craft projects and a Lego menorah was assembled.
Rabbi Yossi Rubin of the Clifton Park Chabad explained that the menorah project symbolized how the Jews rebuilt a sacred temple in Israel more than 2,000 years ago.
The temple had been desecrated when the land was controlled by the Greeks.
After the Jews successfully revolted and took the temple back, Rubin said the temple was rebuilt, with a menorah in it. Unfortunately, they only had enough oil to burn the menorah for one night, but it ended up burning for eight nights, which is the miracle commemorated in the eight nights of Hanukkah.
In about an hour, children assembled a menorah that reached more than four feet high. Rubin said the process embodied the rebuilding by the ancestors, while also serving to teach the lessons of Hanukkah.
Once the menorah was assembled, three candles, the middle one, which is the Shamash that lights the other candles, and two end candles were lit, while Rubin led more than 50 people in a prayer.
The Legos are eventually destined for the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center, as a donation. The Clifton Park Chabad also collected donations at the door for the hospital.
After lighting the candles it was on to dinner, which Layne Zagorski, an organizer of the event, said included a variety of traditional Jewish foods, like latkes.
“We’re also doing doughnuts,” Zagorski said. “We do that every year. It’s not a traditional Hanukkah food, but … we’re known for it.”
As people began dining on food, children made necklaces with different trinkets, like dreidels, menorahs and the Star of David.
Later in the evening, the kids performed the story of Hanukkah. Rubin said the kids worked from a broad script, with a focus on the themes of the holiday, which is important because carrying on the tradition means educating children.
Rubin added that a key point of Hanukkah was demonstrated on Tuesday evening during a vigil at the Shenendehowa High School for two teens that died in a car accident last week.
He said the candles and cellphones that lit the area during a moment of silence, shared the Hanukkah idea that the candles on the menorah can eliminate darkness.