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November 15, 2012

Chanukah Wonderland to return to Orchard Mall

By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer

WEST BLOOMFIELD — Organizers of a Jewish holiday event will light a candle to spread good cheer in Orchard Mall this December.

Bais Chabad Torah Center is promoting a Chanukah Wonderland event that will be held Dec. 9-12 at Orchard Mall in West Bloomfield.

Rabbi Shneur Silberberg of Bais Chabad thanked the mall for helping sponsor the event and allowing the public to join in, regardless of background or financial ability. He explained that Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah) is about spreading light and bring its light and warmth to the outside.

“Anytime you want to celebrate, you want to share the celebration with others,” he said. “There is no joy to keeping it to oneself.”

This year, Hanukkah lasts from sunset Dec. 8 until the evening of Dec. 16.

Hanukkah celebrates a successful Jewish uprising against Syrian-Greek invaders more than 2,100 years ago. The holiday focuses on rededicating the second Jewish Temple for worship and lighting the menorah.

Silberberg praised the success of last year’s Chanukah Wonderland event, adding that it drew more than 1,000 people. Kids may make a gemstone Hanukkah mug, participate in a Hanukkah trivia game show or play in a dreidel-shaped inflatable playhouse.

“There’s only a handful of those in the world,” Silberberg said.

The Hanukkah symbol of oil will define other events. For instance, guests may watch the demonstration of an olive press, or they may eat free fried foods like potato latkes or jelly-stuffed doughnuts.

On Tuesday, guests may witness the official lighting of a 13-foot-tall menorah and watch a children’s musical and a klezmer band, Silberberg said.

While Chanukah Wonderland is in a secular setting, West Bloomfield’s synagogues and temples are also recognizing the holiday.

Temple Kol Ami is also getting into the holiday spirit with a Bim Bam Shabbanukkah Dec. 14. After a 6 p.m. Shabbat service, families will eat a potluck dinner and latkes, light the menorah and sing songs.

Temple assistant Julie Flashner said the annual activity typically draws about 100 people and helps children learn about the holiday and its deeper meaning.

“It’s a holiday that celebrates a happy time in Jewish history — the rededication of the Temple,” she said. “It’s festive, and it’s often a holiday that kids remember fondly as they move through their Jewish education.”

Orchard Mall is located at 6445 Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield. The Chanukah Wonderland event runs Dec. 9-12. Hours are noon-6 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m.-noon and 3-6 p.m. Monday-Wednesday. Admission is free. Learn more at www.baischabad.com or at (248) 855-6170.

Temple Kol Ami’s Bim Bam Shabbanukkah will start at 6 p.m. Dec. 14. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 per child. RSVP by Dec. 7. Temple Kol Ami is located at 5085 Walnut Lake Road in West Bloomfield. Visit www.tkolami.org or call (248) 661-0040.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at eczarnik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1058.