building the PVC menorah at a carnival
All my DIY Hanukkah menorahs are made with repurposed materials, scrap or otherwise compelling components. Meatloaf? Easter eggs? Car parts? Marmite jars? Swim noodles? Plumbing supplies? LEGO, too, of course. And more. Irresistible materials attract builders. To build any menorah is a far deeper learning experience than to simply color one on a sheet of paper. Our builders need to build because they are building themselves. Continue reading
upcycled scrap hanukkiyah
Scraptastic or simply crap?
Here’s why I vote for the former:
Orange juice lids are the exactly perfect right size for tealight candles. I dare you to not enjoy slipping a candle into the inner ring of an upturned Tropicana lid. Irresistible. Kids love it. (Teach them the word “frisson” while you’re at it.) Continue reading
A Menorah is a lamp. A lamp is a menorah.
A Hanukkah menorah is a hanukkiyah.
This little set up (above) is so easy to assemble, and its a great way to start a class about menorah structure, rules, and vocab. Continue reading
LEGO Return of the Jedi minifig menorah
Hanukkah and Star Wars. Both stories involve Rebels vs. an Imperial Army. Both stories incite argument about what is in the “canon” and what isn’t.* Continue reading
Motivated by news that a friend’s child-crafted Model Magic menorah caught fire last night, I offer some tips. Not in the superior tone of the irksome “You’re Doing It Wrong” trend, but as a fellow parent of children who come home from Sunday School clutching hand-made Judaica meant to contain naked flame. Continue reading
Nanoblock menorahs (w LEGO minifig for scale)
Happy first night of Hanukkah! I hope that by now, you have found a just-right menorah to light your holiday. Continue reading
PEZ candles, PEZ flames
PEZ Hanukkah menorahs have been a thing for awhile, which means I wasn’t interested in making one, but when my Mom came for a visit bearing a Star Wars Limited Edition PEZ Collector’s Set With 9 Star Wars PEZ Dispensers, what else could I do? Continue reading
Stars are far crisper in person. I held the glasses over my camera lens.
I don’t often tout a store-bought product, but I recently discovered that Jewish Star spectacles are back in production. The holographic lenses convert every focused light source into a Jewish star. Peep at a candle, a ceiling fixture, a lamp, and it becomes a Mogen David. Small light = small star, big light = big star. Imagine looking at a Hanukkah menorah on the 8th night.
Paper Chain Menorah at school entrance
I needed an oversize Hanukkah decoration for our school’s program on Sunday, big enough to be seen across a drab Social Hall. Yesterday, a random Pinterest pic reminded me of an oldie but goodie: a big, paper-chain hanukkiyah. If mounted low enough, it can do double duty as teaching tool: kids can “light” it and practice proper order and blessings. Continue reading
garage hanukkiyah in natural habitat
Sockets are instant candleholders. And a socket holder is an instant Hanukkah menorah base. Thus, the Socket Menorah: instant ritual object for the handyperson or car nut. Continue reading
Oil menorah, cheap but visible
When I first started doing Jewish holidays I remember being baffled by the Hanukkah candles. Wasn’t the Hanukkah story all about oil? Most every kid’s book highlights the miraculous oil, we fry our latkes and sufganiyot in oil, but every year we (and all the Jews I knew) pull out boxes of multicolored candles to light in honor of the oil. Shouldn’t we light oil to honor oil? Continue reading
Smalls are less than half the size of Altoids tins
Last year I made a “curiously tiny” menorah from an Altoids tin. I also made the claim that as menorahs go, you can’t get much smaller. I was wrong. Continue reading
Elephant Menorah with Martyr and Matches
Today’s menorah features Eleazar Maccabee (Judah’s little brother) and the elephant that was his downfall (because it fell down on him).
What else would I make with a ziploc bag of spent rifle casings?
With me, anything longer than it is wide is not automatically “Freudian,” it is a menorah component. Continue reading
Gelt just for playing, Prize Draw for big winner later
The word “quiz” is instant Carnival buzzkill, right? Hardly the sort of catchy title to entice kids to a Chanukah Carnival station. But really, it is a quiz, my activity, not a game. And if it’s facilitated in the right spirit, it will be fun. And educational. And memorable. I promise. Continue reading
Olive Crushing Installation
This year, instead of a Chanukah carnival, I envisioned something new, or rather, something very, very old. Our synagogue Religious School held a Chanukah “Oil Crush” program. In a nutshell, we made olive oil—shemen zayit—just like the Maccabees, with a commissioned replica of a Hellenistic-era olive crushing installation: crushing wheel, pivot pole (power shaft) and crushing basin. Students from Pre-K to 7th grade took turns pushing the pole to rotate the crushing wheel over fresh olives straight from the tree (ordered from California). Continue reading
Some folks are still looking for a cheap turkey to repurpose as a Hanukkah menorah, so here’s one for a buck. If your once-in-a-lifetime Hanukkah/Thanksgiving needs will be satisfied with a cheap plastic Menurkey, get thee to a Dollar Tree before all the $1 solar-powered turkeys are gone. Then, pimp that bird with a jumbo craft stick and super-glued birthday candleholders. I added glow-in-the-dark bday candles and Continue reading
Nine hexnuts glued inside an empty Altoids tin = Travel Menorah. Or, a Curiously Tiny Menorah. You can’t get much easier. Or smaller for that matter. (EDIT: see smaller one here.) Mine is the classic Altoids size, and it holds—just barely—a row of birthday candles with the Shammash nearby.
I might have to name this a Mint-orah, although my gag reflex is already on the alert. In the last couple of weeks, I’ve made a Menorah-saur Continue reading
An upcycled menorah for a dorm room, made of an old yardstick and plastic Easter eggs. My cost was zero, because I happened to have eggs left over from the seder plate lesson plan wherein I tried to convince 3rd graders that the brightly-colored, hinged and apparently hilarious objects were, in fact, “beitzim” and not Easter Eggs. The eggs ended up as projectiles, as talking eggs (what with the handy hinge) and as unintended take-home favors. Continue reading
PVC and pine Menorah
A “Man-orah.” 100% hardware, rough and ready. Instant. Cheap. Uncomplicated. Just hacksaw 18.5″ off the end of a pine 1×3, slap some glue on 9 PVC fittings and you’re done. No need to sand the splinters or remove the printed SKU# with acetone. That’s for sissies. LED tealights mean this bad boy is safe for the strictest dorm rooms (“no naked flames”), but Continue reading