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Menorah lighting sweet celebration

11/21/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Chanukah, Thanksgiving coincide; annual lighting takes tasty turn

Rabbi Mendy Sasonkin, at left, of Anshe Sfard Revere Road Synagogue, and Rabbi Bob Feinberg, of Temple Israel, led the crowd in singing while they lit the menorah at last year’s menorah lighting at Summit Mall.
Rabbi Mendy Sasonkin hands a dollar bill as part of the Chanukah tradition to then-4-year-old Thaddeus Wade, of Cuyahoga Falls, at last year’s event. A menorah made of donated canned goods — dubbed the “canorah” — is shown in the background.
Photos: Scott Horstman
FAIRLAWN — It’s two holidays in one for some local families when the Jewish celebration of Chanukah comes at Thanksgiving this year.

Chanukah begins at sundown Nov. 27, so the first full day of the Jewish festival of lights is Nov. 28, which is Thanksgiving. According to www.chabad.org, the last time this happened was in 1888, and the two holidays won’t coincide again until 2070.

“I think people are excited,” said Kaila Sasonkin, of Anshe Sfard Revere Road Synagogue in Bath about the two holidays.

She added that many local Jewish families are planning to add some traditional Chanukah foods, such as latkes, to their Thanksgiving meal to blend the two holidays together.

The timing also means the annual community menorah lighting at Summit Mall, which Sasonkin organizes, will be taking place later in the eight-night Chanukah celebration. This year’s event will be Dec. 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Food Court at the mall, 2875 W. Market St.

The lighting event, which is free and open to the public, will feature a large menorah made of doughnuts.

“We’re always looking for something to be exciting and something different for the holiday,” Sasonkin said. “Doughnuts represent the miracle of the oil, so there will be excitement of having it on an edible menorah.”

The menorah itself will be created out of thin pipes. Doughnuts with holes will be put over the pipes for the top part, and the bottom will be embellished with jelly-filled doughnuts, Sasonkin said.

She added that 500 doughnuts will be ordered from a kosher bakery in Cleveland for the occasion.

For the fourth year in a row, the celebration also will feature a menorah made of canned goods — dubbed the “canorah” — that have been donated for the Akon-Canton Regional Foodbank.

Canned goods may be dropped off at the Shaw Jewish Community Center (JCC), 750 White Pond Drive in West Akron; Beth-El Congregation and The Lippman School, both located in the Shaw JCC; Temple Israel, 133 Merriman Road in West Akron; or Revere Road Synagogue, 646 N. Revere Road in Bath.

Cans also may be brought to the event for donation, but they will not be used to construct the can menorah, Sasonkin said.

The Foodbank has been very appreciative of the donations over the years and has even provided help with constructing the menorah, which begins the evening before the menorah lighting, Sasonkin said.

The lighting also will feature singing from Lippman School students and appearances by Dreidel Man and Judah the Maccabee.

Special guests this year will be Shirel and Eran Bin Num, who arrived recently from Israel to serve as shlichim, or emissaries, to the Akron Jewish community.

Sasonkin said about 300 people typically attend the menorah lighting.

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