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Lighting the Menorah

By Staff | Dec 20, 2011

Several hundred people turned out Tuesday evening at the Coralwood Mall for the 8th annual of the lighting of the menorah on the first night of Hanukkah. The event, sponsored by the Chabad Jewish Center of Cape Coral and held in the parking lot along Del Prado Boulevard next to SunTrust Bank, featured as a centerpiece a 5 1/2-foot-tall menorah made entirely of Legos.

Rabbi Yossi Labkowski explained before the lighting ceremony that they used Legos to build the menorah in an ongoing attempt to get more children involved.

“Last year we used balloons,” Labkowski said. “This year we used Legos.”

And while he wouldn’t say exactly how many Legos were used, he did say that the structure included “several thousand” of the plastic building blocks.

The gathering began shortly after sundown with people milling about chatting, sampling latkes, donuts and drinks, and browsing a table filled with Hanukkah-related items such as dreidels, menorahs, candles, toys and more.

A nearby crafts table was also very busy, with a number of young children painting their own wooden dreidels or pictures.

Labkowski kicked off the official program welcoming everyone in attendance and noting that it was a “wonderful sight to see so many people, Jews and non-Jews, young and old.”

He went on to pay tribute to “the heroes of long ago, the Maccabees,” signifying their role in history and the Hanukkah tradition, and to the American soldiers serving overseas today “… risking their lives daily so we can be safe at home.”

He also recognized officials on hand for the ceremony, including State Rep. Gary Aubuchon and Mayor John Sullivan, who both spoke briefly during the program, and Councilmember Chris Chulakes-Leetz.

A highlight of the evening was a performance by the Hebrew School students, who sang several traditional Jewish songs. Later, Jacob Ben Heim also sang for the crowd, encouraging those in attendance to sing along with him.

Handling the official lighting of the Lego menorah was David Casman with some assistance from Labkowski.