The World’s Largest Hanukkah menorah, as verified by the Guinness World Records, will be proudly standing once again on New York City’s Fifth Avenue and 59th Street just below Central Park in what is known as the Big Apple’s most fashionable plaza.
The menorah will be set up between the Plaza and the Pierre Hotels and is sponsored by the Chabad Lubavitch Jewish movement.
The holiday of Hanukkah begins on the night of Tuesday, December 16th and continues right up until December 24th at sundown. The first candle will be lit on Tuesday evening, with one candle being added every day until the full menorah will be lit up on the eighth day. All weekday lighting’s are scheduled for 5:30 pm, a time of heavy commuter traffic in the area, as most people leave their offices around that time.
“The menorah stands as a symbol of freedom and democracy, strength and inspiration, delivering a timely and poignant message to each person on an individual basis,” said Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman, Director of the Lubavitch Youth Organization.
The menorah, which has been lit in previous years by New York city mayors and state governors, was designed by renowned artist Yaakov Agam, who also has lit the menorah many times. The menorah is based upon a drawing by Maimonides of the original Menorah from the Temple in Jerusalem.
The menorah stands 32 feet high, is gold colored, weighs 4,000 pounds and is made of steel. It will be lit nightly with genuine oil lamps. The menorah will contain specially designed glass chimneys that will protect the Hanukkah lights from the winds blowing down off of Central Park.
Due to the height of the Menorah, it will be lit with the help of a Con Edison ‘cherry-picker’ crane as well as two lifts that raise those honored with the lighting up to the top of the Menorah.
The lighting of this Menorah is a major annual Hanukkah event for the millions of residents of New York and the surrounding area as well as visitors to the Big Apple. As the commandment for the holiday is to “spread the word of the miracle of Hanukkah,” this menorah achieves that feat.
The international media also tends to put the menorah in the center of their annual Hanukkah coverage. Hence, they help bring the story of Hanukkah into the homes of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world.
Another major Hanukkah event in the Big Apple is the Grand Menorah Parade. On Saturday evening, December 20th, over 300 ‘Menorah vehicles’ (cars with Menorahs attached to the top) will leave the Lubavitch World Headquarters in Brooklyn at 7:00 pm and will pass by the 59th St. plaza at 8:30 pm.
Other Menorahs of note that will be lit around the world include: An ice sculpture menorah in St. Augustine, Florida; A Menorah that was given by Jews who survived the Holocaust to their Christian protectors after WWII and was donated to the Jewish community of Ottawa, Canada, will be lit in a public ceremony; A Grand menorah in Las Vegas will be lit up nightly; A Menorah will be set up on High Street in Loughton, England for the second year in a row; and in Jerusalem, menorahs will be lit in almost every home, public place, and government office including the Knesset, and of course at the Western Wall.