Forget the 1969 three-day music festival, Woodstock, New York has a new claim to fame: the world’s first solar-powered menorah. Rabbi AB Itkin of the Chabad community in Ulster County designed and built the menorah using spare parts from a local store. While the renewable-energy menorah is not suitable for the mitzvah of traditional menorah lighting which requires fire as the source of light, the solar-powered menorah is to help inspire pride in the Jewish Festival of Lights and raise awarenesss of Chanukah.
Many communities use public electric menorahs symbolically, but Woodstock’s Village Green, a small park in the town where the menorah is displayed every year, does not have electricity so a lit menorah was impossible — until now. The menorah was lit last night on the first night of Chanukah, and it will be illuminated all eight nights.
Rabbi Yitzchok Hecht, Director of Chabad of Ulster County, says the Jewish community, which is about 5000 strong in the area, is excited about the green menorah. “What is more,” he says, “the concept of taking the energy of the sun and using it to bring light into the darkness of night is a beautiful complement to the miracle and story of Chanukah.”
Images courtesy Chabad Lubavitch News