The original menorah in the Jews’ desert tabernacle was made of gold. Today’s Hanukkah menorahs are made with many different materials, including clay, ceramics, metals, and even plastic. But are cans of food the next big menorah material?
Across the country, Jews are constructing menorahs out of donated canned foods, which are then given to local charities and the needy. A Google search revealed such events in California, Oregon, Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecticut. All were organized by local Chabad centers.
Chabad of Hunterdon (NJ) wanted to set a world record with a menorah made of 6,000 cans–but Rabbi Eli Kornfeld, executive director of the center, learned that the Guinness Book of World Records doesn’t offer such a title. Still, he felt confident claiming victory.
Chabad of Illinois will donate the cans from its menorah to the victims of the recent tornadoes to hit that state.
“The menorah made of food cans will both symbolically illuminate the darkness of those suffering in the aftermath of the tornadoes and effectively help them in their time of need,” said regional director Rabbi Daniel Moscowitz, noting the rare convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah this year.
Rabbi Yossi Hodakov of Chabad of Westville (CT) also used his local food can collection and menorah to highlight the overlap of the religious and secular holidays.
“Hanukkah is a time to give thanks to God for the miracles he did for us,” he said, urging Jews to show their thanks by giving to others.