As the temperature noticably continues to drop and the nights grow longer, Chanukah Wonderland offered a warm welcome to the community Tuesday, literally.
The lighting of a 12-ft. candelabrum, called a menorah, by Dave Kresch, a West Bloomfield resident who survived the Holocaust, highlighted three days of food and fun at Orchard Mall Shopping Center this week.
Bais Chabad Torah Center sponsored the three-day tribute between Dec. 9-12 to the annual, eight-day Jewish holiday, which is one of the most widely-celebrated holidays and a favorite amongst children. Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah) takes place this year from sunset Dec. 8 until the evening of Dec. 16.
In addition to the traditional ceremony, several hundred who attended Tuesday were entertained. A 21-child cast of children from the Bais Chabad Drama Club performed a musical written by local Rebbetzin Zeesy Silberberg which explained the story behind Hanukkah and Kidz Klez of Michigan offered Klezmer music by local children.
Students from Hillel Day School on Wednesday used the opportunity for education, visiting on a class field trip.
Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the Jews over Syrian-Greek invaders in 164 BCE (Before Common Era). Hanukkah (Hebrew for dedicate) refers to the rededication of second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and is celebrated by lighting one additional candle in the menorah for eight days.
Oil is a common theme at the Chanukah Wonderland event, including the demonstration of an olive press and snacks including jelly sufganiot (doughnuts) and potato latkes (pancakes), both common Hanukkah dishes.
Hanukkah celebration continues
At Temple Kol Ami, a child-friendly religious service in honor of the dual Hanukkah and Shabbat service called Bim Bam Shabanukkah takes place Dec. 14. Bring your own menorah, a dairy or vegetarian dish and willingness to sing — the reform temple provides latkes, toppings, beverages and dessert.
The event is $2/adults, $1/child and requires payment in advance. For more information or to make a reservation, visit tkolami.org or call 248-661-0040.
Orchard Mall is located at 6445 Orchard Lake Rd, West Bloomfield. Temple Kol Ami is located at 5085 Walnut Lake Rd., West Bloomfield.
Patch local editor Art Aisner contributed to this report.