Braving dark skies and below-freezing temperatures, dozens of local kids created bright designs on a super-sized interactive light display, as part of Hanukkah celebrations at Temple Emanu-El on Atlantic Avenue.
“We’re building a menorah,” said Natasha Male, 10, of Swampscott, who was working with her big sister, Nyomi, 11. “It’s really fun.”
The installation is called Brighter United and looks like a giant Lite Brite game. It’s a traveling art exhibit with Boston-based JArts, designed by Needham artist Tova Speter. Brighter United is visiting more than a dozen locations across the state this month, including the Museum of Fine Arts. Temple Emanu-El was its only stop on the North Shore.
Each peg in the installation features a hand-drawn image, including the sun symbolizing warmth and empathy, a lightning bolt representing focus, a star for guidance and a candle for kindling a flame in others.
“Each design represents a way we can ignite change in the world,” explained Peter Samiljan with JArts, who was running the event at Temple Emanu-El.
“This is a fun opportunity,” said Rabbi Alison Peiser, Temple Emanu-El’s educator. “The whole idea is that with Hanukkah and the winter solstice approaching, we want to bring more light into the world.”
Jordan London, 11, was building his initials on the display. “My favorite pegs are the blue ones. I like the lighting bolts because they resemble the sky.”
Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, runs Dec. 18-25. Upcoming Hanukkah celebrations in town include the following:
Temple Emanu-El will host a community menorah lighting on Sunday, Dec. 18, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. There will be dreidel games, jelly donuts, potato latkes, a Hanukkah sing-along and a magic show with award-winning magician George Saterial. Details HERE.
At Temple Sinai, 1 Community Road, Rabbi Michael Schwartz will lead the second in a series of breakfast talks called Eight Spiritual Gifts of Hanukkah, on how to create a more meaningful holiday on Sunday, Dec. 18, 9:30 a.m. Learn more at HERE.
The community is also invited to Temple Sinai for Chinese food and a movie on Sat., Dec. 24, at 5:00 p.m. Bring your favorite menorah. Reserve your spot at 781-631-2762.
Leigh Blander is an experienced TV, radio and print journalist who has written hundreds of stories for local newspapers, including the Marblehead Reporter. She also works as a PR specialist.