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'Wonderland' Welcomes All at Orchard Mall for Chanukah

Three-day event pays tribute to historic Jewish uprising with the lighting of the menorah.

Fun for children is sure to abound at the annual Chanukah Wonderland event in Orchard Mall Shopping Center in December.

Bais Chabad Torah Center sponsors the three-day tribute to the eight-day Jewish holiday, 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. The Chanukah Wonderland event takes place Dec. 9-12.

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 a candelabrum, called a 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.

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, a 12-foot tall menorah will be lit at 5:30 p.m., celebrated with performances by Kidz Klez Band of Michigan and the Bais Chabad Drama Club.

The event is considered secular — at last year's event, mall management Susie Sills and Michael Levey lit the shamash ("the helper candle") after a brief introduction from Township Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste. 

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.

Information published to Patch written by Rabbi Jason Miller was used in this report. For more information on Hanukkah, visit: 5 Things You Should Know About Hanukkah

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