Chabad of Buckhurst Hill, Essex, UK, have done it again with another amazing record breaking Menorah to feature at their Chanukah party this year. The UK’s First Flora Menorah.
The Menorah was truly a beautiful work of art created by Louise Osen with her husband Daniel, members of the community who are always happy to get involved and who worked really hard at this project. The frame of the Menorah was covered in soft ruscus and then 239 mini gerberas were carefully trimmed and inserted into small tubes of water to keep them fresh, the child who correctly guessed how many flowers were on the Menorah, got the honour of lighting it!
Each year the Chabad House in Buckhurst Hill makes a unique speciality Menorah to feature at its Family Chanukah Party. This year’s Menorah was highly anticipated by the community who over the last few years have seen a Pearl Menorah, Coin Menorah, Can Menorah, Recycled phones Menorah, Chocolate Menorah and probably their most famous to date – the Whisky Menorah containing 65 litres of single malt whisky.
The Public Menorah Lighting, at the top of Queens Road, right in the heart of Buckhurst Hill is attracting ever-growing crowds each year. Many remarked that this year certainly looked like the largest yet with over 250 people attending.
A wide cross section of the community was representing at the lighting, both members of the local Jewish community, local Councillors, other interested locals and the Guest of Honour, the Chairman of the Buckhurst Hill Parish Council, Cllr Smruti Patel who was honoured to kindle the central light.
Rabbi Odom Brandman, director of the Chabad Centre, who led the event, opened by thanking the local Council for the permissions required for the public Menorah. Rabbi Brandman then went on to share a brief recap of the story of Chanukah and its two universal messages – that of freedom of religion and expression and the idea of spreading light, brightening up the world around us with deeds of goodness and kindness.
At the event, Rabbi Brandman highlighted that Jewish People all over the world were celebrating, and even here in Buckhurst Hill, we have Jews from all over the world living in our community. As a special feature leading up to the lighting of the Menorah, Rabbi Brandman called upon members of the crowd who were either visiting or have now moved here from other countries and representatives from the Jewish Communities of Italy, Venezuela, Israel, India, Egypt, South Africa and America stepped forward.
The crowd were also privileged to be entertained by a guest cantor, Rabbi Zali Rodal, who had previously joined the community for the High Holy Days, and who has a beautiful voice.
Mrs Henny Brandman, who co-directs the Centre with her husband said: “Chanukah is such a special and happy time of year and it was amazing to see the community come out in great numbers to support this fantastic event as they do every year in growing numbers. Chanukah is a time to spread light, warmth and community spirit and these events go a long way in encouraging this spirit among the wider community.”
Rabbi Brandman announced, that this event, was the first of 7 Public Menorah Lightings that Chabad was organising across the area, and he was sure each would be an amazing success in its own right.
Over 150 people then came back to the Chabad Centre for latkes, doughnuts, music, crafts for the children, a photo booth with Maccabee soldiers and of course a L’chaim.
For more information of what is going on at Chabad Buckhurst Hill, please see: www.chabadonthehill.co.uk
photos by Alan Ezekiel