The Jewish community gathered at the Philip Benjamin Tower to build the menorah Sunday, December 14, two days before its transportation to downtown’s South Straub Park.
One-by-one, children towered colorful Duplo bricks, with a lift from their parents when needed, in a pattern designed by Simon Boses, who is the owner and educator of Make Time and a sculptor/painter of whimsical clay creatures at his studio, Mudmonkey.
At Make Time, Boses leads kids’ hands-on engineering, science and technology projects. “We decided to take on the challenge of engineering so that the bricks [on the menorah] did not have to be glued together,” he says. “The challenge was to make it simple enough to have a good time with it.”
All attendees enjoyed a Kosher meal; children played with Legos and Duplo bricks. The PJ Library, an organization that provides engaging reading and listening materials to Jewish families nationally, displayed high-quality Hanukkah-themed books.
Rabbi Alter Korf says every year the Chabad Center, together with the Jewish Federation of Pinellas and Pasco Counties, constructs the menorah out of different materials. Previously, he says, they assembled a menorah out of food cans that were donated to charities after the event. This year, Rabbi Korf says, the children’s participation created “the beauty” of the menorah.