Santa Barbara News-Press 

Tradition in a new light


Billed as the "world's largest canorah," the lighting of the Hanukkah display at La Cumbre Plaza drew a crowd on Sunday evening.

Members of Chabad of Santa Barbara — known for their creative celebrations of Jewish holidays — constructed an 8-foot, 2,000-pound menorah out of canned pineapple, beets, tomatoes and whatever else attendees contributed from their closets. Flanked by other holiday decorations, the massive "canorah" was designed by physicists from UCSB to ensure its stability.

Mayor Marty Blum was given the honor of lighting the torch that would be used to light three candles on top of the structure, signifying the third day of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.

The message of Hanukkah "teaches us that we have an obligation to illuminate the darkness in which we find ourselves," Rabbi Yosef Loschak told the crowd of about 375 onlookers, many of them children.

It is important to spread the light and share it with the world, said Ella Loschak, one of the rabbi's daughters who helped organize the event.

Hanukkah began at sundown on Friday and continues until Saturday.

The event Sunday was a variation on last year's Hanukkah celebration, which included building a menorah out of legos. That idea inspired 36 other Jewish organizations to copy the idea, including one in Israel and one in Spain, Ms. Loschak said.

This year's celebration also included a fire juggler, activities for kids and warm potato latkes. It was also broadcast on Chabad's Web site, www.sbchabad.org.

The 500 or so cans of food used to construct the "canorah" will be donated to a local food bank and a Jewish organization in Los Angeles.