Hanukkah ignites with a ‘CAN-orah’

Roseville Jews light menorah of donated cans
By: Lien Hoang, The Press Tribune
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In an uncanny blend of charity with the holidays, the Jewish community inaugurated Hanukkah by lighting a menorah – made of canned food. Chabad of Placer County collected 400 to 500 cans in the past few weeks and Wednesday arranged them in the shape of a menorah at the Galleria. “It’s a unique way to put a little twist on it,” Rabbi Yossi Korik said of his organization’s 6-year-old tradition. Among 150 onlookers, Keith Kaplan lit the first candle of the 4-foot-tall, 6-foot-wide “CAN-orah.” Kaplan is Sacramento region development director for Westfield, which owns the Galleria. In his address, Korik reminded guests of the story underlying the Jewish Festival of Lights, when candle oil burned for eight days. He connected that to the work required to reopen the Galleria after October’s arson fire. “That’s the message of Hanukkah,” Korik said. “When we are dedicated with faith and courage, despite being discouraged by the odds, we will be successful.” Guests included curious passersby, representatives from the offices of U.S. Congressman Tom McClintock and Placer County Supervisor Kirk Uhler and speakers Gavin Farnam, Galleria general manager, and Roseville City Councilman-elect Tim Herman. “As Rabbi said, ‘Do a good mitzvah,’” Herrman said, referring to an act of kindness, as described in the Torah. “Well, a mitzvah you can do this year is to go shopping at Westfield, make sure the Galleria’s strong.” The congregation sang after the lighting, fueled by drinks, latkas with apple sauce and donuts. “It’s nice to have, you know, an option, an opportunity to celebrate with everyone else,” said Matat Cahana, who as a mall employee has been to the Hanukkah event for several years. With the CAN-orah dismantled the same day, a traditional, 9-foot menorah of lightbulbs remains at the Galleria to be “lighted.” Chabad has used the centerpiece in its past celebrations, although one year included a menorah of Legos. It has also started to give out some of the cans but is currently determining a “dignified” way to distribute them all, Korik said. Other donated food wasn’t used in Wednesday’s ceremony because it came in more flammable containers. “We weren’t ready to light another fire in the mall,” the rabbi said jokingly the next day. During the holiday kick-off, Chabad sold Hanukkah gifts such as toys, candles and decorations. The money raised will contribute to a planned synagogue at the former fire station on Douglas Boulevard near Woodgrove Way in Granite Bay. Korik said he hoped the Shapiro Chabad Community Center would open in 18 months, to expand and continue events like the Hanukkah opener. “This is one of our most beautiful events of the year,” Korik said. Lien Hoang can be reached at ---------- Hanukkah events WHAT: Chabad of Placer County party WHEN: 7:30 Saturday WHERE: Pinnacle apartment clubhouse, 1100 Roseville Parkway DETAILS: Cocktails, Kosher salad and soup, menorah lighting COST: $18 WHAT: Hanukkah Bowl for Teens WHEN: 5-7 p.m. Sunday WHERE: Strikes, 5681 Lonetree Blvd., Rocklin DETAILS: For ages 13-17, bowling, Kosher food and drinks, menorah lighting COST: $12 WHAT: Children’s carnival WHEN: 11 a.m. - noon Sunday WHERE: Childrens Creative Arts Center, 6210 Douglas Blvd., Granite Bay DETAILS: Booths, crafts, prizes COST: $5 For all events, call (916) 677-9960 or visit