Congregation B’nai Moshe Rabbi Shalom Kantor, left, and seventh-graders Genny Aronov and Jonah Owen, of Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit, help build a wooden menorah for a parade with floats designed by Hillel students.

Congregation B’nai Moshe Rabbi Shalom Kantor, left, and seventh-graders Genny Aronov and Jonah Owen, of Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit, help build a wooden menorah for a parade with floats designed by Hillel students.

Photo provided by Gabriella Burman


Hanukkah parade to ‘help spread light’

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published November 29, 2018

 Aronov, left, kneeling; Owen; Erica Fischman; and Carmela Ifraimov help build the parade menorah.

Aronov, left, kneeling; Owen; Erica Fischman; and Carmela Ifraimov help build the parade menorah.

Photo provided by Gabriella Burman

WEST BLOOMFIELD — The age-old story of Hanukkah is on its way to Farmington Hills and Huntington Woods soon.

In partnership with Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit and Congregation B’nai Moshe, a Hanukkah parade with floats designed by Hillel students is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 8 in Farmington Hills and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9 in Huntington Woods. Hillel Day School is located in Farmington Hills, and B’nai Moshe is located in West Bloomfield.

Students in the makerspace at Hillel made two large wooden menorahs — one of which will be in the float.

Congregation Rabbi Shalom Kantor said that he has two children who attend Hillel, and a number of his congregants are students there too, so a partnership was inevitable.

He added that in consulting with a teacher at Hillel, he learned how the youth could be involved, in what way and what they would learn.

Kantor said that this experience teaches students about construction and allows them the “experience of creating something.”

This is the third year that B’nai Moshe has been involved in a Hanukkah-related celebration; this is the first year for the partnership with the school.

“We’ve done something like this each year; it continues to grow and develop,” Kantor said, adding that the goal is to create something every year that is bigger and stronger.

Kantor said there are about 15 Hillel students working on the project, and 15 young people from the congregation, plus other adults and community members.

Dawn Straith, an educator at Hillel Day School of Metropolitan Detroit, said that this collaboration is a great way to figure out how to involve students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

She added that students had a chance to use woodworking power tools. They learned hands-on skills and incorporated math and science into constructing the menorahs.

“This experience is an opportunity where they can apply the skills that they learn in a real setting right in the moment,” Straith said, adding that students rarely ask her why they need to learn something, because they are learning practical skills. “Kids are exposed to this type of learning (that is) more engaging.”

She said the elective class is offered to students in grades five to eight. This class of seven students chose to participate in an eight-week rotation of making the menorah.

“It’s really great (at) reaching the types of learners who don’t learn in a typical sitting (class),” she said.

Kantor said that one of the messages of Hanukkah is about being a light during the “darkest time of the year.”

“People want to retreat into their homes,” he said. This parade aims to engage and beckon people out of their homes and to “help spread light.”