Partnering with Chabad, major hardware store chains such as The Home Dept, Lowes and Ace Hardware, will bring Chanukah crafts to dozens of locations across North America. Surrounded by piles of lumber, the smell of sawdust and the bustle of the large hardware stores, kids will create DIY Chanukah menorahs out of wood.
Accompanied by a parent, the children will don aprons, make menorahs from prepared cut wood, paint their creations and insert candle holders. The menorah will be lit during Chanukah, which begins on the night of December 16th, and Chabad provides instructional literature and safety handouts to go with.
“The kids love the menorahs that they create on their own, they treasure it and they then feel more involved in the holiday,” Rabbi Aaron Notik, program director at Chabad of Gainesville said of the last year’s event. Unique to the program, he points out, is that parents don’t just drop their kids off. They participate and get involved with their children.
Dozens such events—each with their own variations—will take place across North America. Chabad of Fairfield, Connecticut will bring hot lakes to the Trumbull Home Depot, and Chanukah action hero Judah the Maccabee will join. Among others where Chabad will provide music and refreshments on December 14: San Rafael Home Depot in Novato, CA; Lowes in Indian Harbor Beach, Florida, Chabad of Satellite Beach; and at Bettendorf Home Depot Chabad of the Quad-Cities in Iowa will be bringing enough cookie dough for everyone to make their Chanukah shaped cookies.
Rabbi Levi Landa of Chabad of Greater St. Louis, Missouri, will come with his trusted olive oil press for an olive-oil producing demonstration. At the Home Depot, employees are getting ready “It’s a fantastic program,” says a store manager Ryan Meahl. “We will have two hundred kids, and we are glad to do all the prep work for it.”
At a time when many towns are illuminated by seasonal holiday displays, Jewish families welcome Chanukah’s event. “In a place like Gainesville, the amount of holiday of [Xmas] activity is overwhelming, and for a Jewish family in that environment it is overwhelming. When they see a Jewish event is going on, it is exciting for them,” says Notik.
Partnering with these hardware chains gives families who may not participate in traditional synagogue activities the opportunity to prepare for and celebrate the Chanukah festival within their own comfort zone, in a familiar store, and meeting others who are doing the same thing.
Cutting the wood for all the kids, at the Brentwood location, Senad Dzankovic, says that he looks forward to the Chanukah event with anticipation event. “Seeing the kids smile is what is important to me. It’s all about the kids. They are our future.”