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Royal Oak menorah lighting to celebrate positivity

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published December 17, 2019

 The Royal Oak Jewish Center’s inaugural menorah lighting ceremony in downtown Royal Oak Dec. 29 will include an ice menorah carved during the event.

The Royal Oak Jewish Center’s inaugural menorah lighting ceremony in downtown Royal Oak Dec. 29 will include an ice menorah carved during the event.

Photo provided by Mushky Glitsenstein


ROYAL OAK — From 4:30 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 29, the Royal Oak Jewish Center will host its inaugural menorah lighting event on West Fifth Street, between South Washington Avenue and South Center Street.

All are welcome to attend the free celebration of the Hanukkah holiday, which will also include live entertainment, children’s activities, ice sculpting and the lighting of an ice menorah. A 12-foot-tall, lighted menorah also will stand along South Washington Avenue, near Fifth Street, from Dec. 21 to 29.

Inside a 20-by-20-foot warming tent, traditional children’s activities will take place, and event organizers will provide traditional foods and nonalcoholic beverages, including potato pancakes, soup and a doughnut decorating bar. The center also is producing a video of local children acting out the the story of Hanukkah to be shown that evening.

Just over a year ago, Rabbi Moishie and Mushky Glitsenstein opened the Royal Oak Jewish Center, 425 W. Lincoln Ave., east of Woodward Avenue. It is one of more than 3,500 branches of Chabad, an organization centered around Jewish education and outreach programs.

“We want to invite everybody to come Dec. 29,” Mushky said. “We’re really excited about spreading the important message of the power of positivity.”

The event will include a “gelt drop,” or money drop, facilitated by the Royal Oak Police Department. Firefighters will bring a ladder truck to the event and toss down chocolate coins for the families gathered below to collect.

The activity stems from the Hanukkah tradition in which children receive a little bit of money each night of the holiday to give them the power and choice to use the money for charity, Mushky explained.

The event will also include a live fire show — including fire breathers, fire eaters and fire jugglers — by Sunshine Fire Entertainment, and the public will be able to watch live the conclusion of the carving of the ice menorah before it is lit.

“The message of Hanukkah is all about the power of life and how the only way to fight darkness is with light. Darkness isn’t something you can just push away; it’s something you need positivity in order to get rid of,” Mushky said. “It’s an important universal message that everyone can benefit from — not just Jewish communities.”

She said that individuals have the opportunity to be the light, through acts of kindness, in whatever situation they find themselves.

On Dec. 9, the Royal Oak City Commission unanimously approved the agreement between the city and the Royal Oak Jewish Center for the public downtown menorah lighting event.

“It’s a wonderful addition to our community,” Commissioner Kyle DuBuc said. “Thank you so much for organizing it. I’m sure it’s going to be a success, and I look forward to joining with my family.”

From 2 to 9 p.m. Dec. 29, West Fifth Street from South Washington Avenue to South Center Street will be closed, affecting a total of 18 on-street metered parking spaces. Parking meters do not require payment on Sundays.

For more information about the event, visit or call (248) 890-6480.