Friday, November 26, 2010

Huge Menorah Opens Chanukah Season Dec. 1st in New York City

The "World's Largest Chanukah Menorah" will once again be proudly standing at New York's most fashionable plaza, Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, by Central Park, between the Plaza and the Pierre Hotels.

Specially designed by renowned artist Yaacov Agam, the contemporary sculpture was inspired by a drawing by Maimonides of the original Menorah in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem.  It was created for the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who personally approved its form.

"The Rebbe sent me a special letter thanking me," notes Agam, "emphasizing that 'where ever there is light there is shadow.'"

As in years past, the first Chanukah candle will be lit on Wednesday December 1st, the first night of the Jewish Chanukah holiday, and the 8 nights of ceremonial lighting will continue at 5:30pm through December 8th.

Over the years, the menorah has been lit by New York City Mayors Abraham Beame, Ed Koch, David Dinkins, Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg; Governors Mario Cuomo, George Pataki and David Paterson; United States Senators Jacob Javits and Charles Schumer, as well as many other dignitaries.

The  32-foot high, gold colored, 4,000-pound steel sculpture has been certified by Guinness World Records as the World's Largest. Each arm holds genuine oil lamps whose flames are protected from the Central Park winds by specially designed glass chimneys.

Nightly lightings are carried out with the help of a Con Edison "cherry-picker" crane as well as two lifts that lift the lighters to the "Menorah Heights." 

On Sunday evening, December 5th, a special Chanukah celebration will include live music, singing and dancing, "Chanukah Gelt" for the children and hot "latkes" (potato pancakes), the traditional food of Chanukah, will be distributed to everyone.

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