Photos of good deeds sought for art menorah

By: Brendan Losinski | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published December 4, 2017

 Last year’s menorah, pictured above, was a collection of tiles painted by local children. This year’s menorah will feature photos of members of the community doing good deeds to symbolize the light of goodness standing against the darkness of evil.

Last year’s menorah, pictured above, was a collection of tiles painted by local children. This year’s menorah will feature photos of members of the community doing good deeds to symbolize the light of goodness standing against the darkness of evil.

Photo provided by Bentzion Geisinsky

FRANKLIN — Franklin will be getting some light for the dark months of winter with the annual Art Menorah Lighting.

The menorah in question is several feet tall and will be on display for the public.

The Art Menorah Lighting ceremony will take place 5-6:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Franklin Village Green, on Franklin Road. The concept of this year’s menorah is that it will consist of a magnetic mosaic covered in hundreds of photos depicting people doing good deeds, spreading light to the world.

The event will be led by Rabbi Bentzion Geisinsky, of the Chabad of Bingham Farms. He also was responsible for organizing the lighting.

“The idea of Hanukkah in general is that the power of a little bit of light can give out a lot of hope,” said Geisinsky. “The doing of good deeds can dispel a lot of darkness. So we are making a menorah made of people doing good deeds. Atop the photos will be the lamps. So not only are we bringing literal light to the world, but also showing the light of people as a force of good.”

Light triumphing over darkness is a key theme of the holiday and Judaism as a whole.

“The menorah in general is the celebration of light over darkness,” explained Geisinsky. “When the Jewish people were under oppression, they weren’t able to express their Judaism, and they rebelled and fought back against the Greeks. They were under siege in the Temple, and they found only one jug with enough oil for one day, and it lasted eight days, which was a miracle. … That is the origin of Hanukkah.”

This is the second year for the Art Menorah Lighting. Last year’s menorah consisted of dozens of tiles made and decorated by local youths. The event was moved from the Franklin Cider Mill to the Village Green to accomodate more people.

“There will be a lot of Hanukkah treats and food, some games for the kids, music, dancing and other activities on the lawn near the library,” said Geisinsky. “In an interesting twist, we have the dreidel for Hanukkah, and with fidget spinners being so popular, we have an opportunity for kids to make their own fidget spinner dreidel. We’re also raffling off a drone between those who take part in the lighting or contributing to creating the menorah, or they can choose instead a type of bread we eat on the Shabbat called challah.”

The photos will show a variety of good acts — volunteering for nonprofits, cleaning up the neighborhood, kindness to others.

“I sent in a picture of me and my niece Eliora Winer giving a donation in a charity box,” said Emily Hollenberg, a resident of Southfield. “I think it’s important to contribute to charity, and to have had the opportunity to do that with my niece (is) special. These are values we share in our family, and I think it’s important to display this important mitzvah to show what the menorah represents.”

Hollenberg said she’s glad she was able to be part of such a positive effort in her community.

“We will be there on Dec. 14 with friends and family,” said Hollenberg. “I think the opportunity to have a public display of light and showcasing good deeds and Torah commandments is a great way to celebrate the holidays, especially alongside neighbors and community members.”

Photos of good deeds can be submitted until Sunday, Dec. 10. They can be emailed to artmeno rah@gmail.com. Geisinsky said people don’t need to be Jewish to take part in the festivities; they only need to have a kind heart and a desire to help those around them.

“We love to see people come out and participate in a wonderful celebration, and we hope to see lots of menorahs in people’s homes this year,” said Geisinsky. “I hope we have lots of people submitting their photos and see them up there on the menorah as part of lighting up the world. It also will be great fun and a chance to unite with others bringing light to the world.”