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December 11, 2012

Synagogue supports massive menorah lighting in Detroit

By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer

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Synagogue supports massive menorah lighting in Detroit
Erik and Israel Nordin work at their business, the Detroit Design Center, as they wrap up work on a 24-foot-tall menorah that will be set up at Campus Martius during Hanukkah.

WEST BLOOMFIELD — A West Bloomfield Jewish congregation is bringing the Festival of Lights to a city that could use some more light.

The Shul Chabad-Lubavitch is teaming up with sponsors to throw a 2nd Annual Menorah Lighting in the “D” Hanukkah celebration in Detroit’s Campus Martius Dec. 12.

The Shul’s Rabbi Kasriel Shemtov said this is the second year his congregation is organizing the event. However, he promised that this year would be bigger and better than before — including a lighting of a new, impressive menorah centerpiece.

“Last year, we had an ice menorah, and this year we’re designing and creating a 24-foot menorah out of steel and glass,” Shemtov said. “It’s going to be beautiful.”

Judaism’s eight-day Hanukkah festival lasts this year from Dec. 8-16. It celebrates the triumph of a rebellion against the Syrian-Greeks more than two millennia ago. The menorah candle holder is central to the Hanukkah story, which says that the Jewish rebels rededicated the temple and — with the help of a miracle — kept the menorah lit for eight days with one day’s supply of oil.

The Shul picked brothers Erik and Israel Nordin, from Detroit Design Center, to construct the new menorah. Erik said the mammoth menorah is planned to reappear at Campus Martius/Cadillac Square annually for Hanukkah.

He and Israel started the project upon the Shul’s request in November, and they have worked feverishly to complete the menorah within the tight timeframe.

“We have been working around the clock to get the piece done,” Erik said. “Our inspiration basically comes directly from a lot of historical design aspects of menorahs.”

Erik said the menorah would be able to be lit either with oil lamps or LED lighting.

He said the Detroit Design Center, founded in 2000, has done artistic pieces for Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital and other locales in Detroit and the metro area.

“The intent was to hustle and make (the menorah) as epic as possible,” he said. “We wanted it to have a presence.”

The 2nd Annual Menorah Lighting in the “D” will take place at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at Campus Martius in Detroit. Besides the lighting, the event will serve soup and jelly doughnuts. Find out more at www.menorahinthed.com.

The Shul Chabad-Lubavitch, 6890 W. Maple Road, can be reached at www.theshul.net or at (248) 788-4000. Learn more about the Detroit Design Center at www.detroitdesigncenter.com or at (313) 330-2259.

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