By Maayan Jaffe
The festival of lights is one of my favorite times to get creative. The most powerful Hanukkah symbol is the menorah, which warms our home with its spirit, vitality and glow.
While each family member has his/her own special menorah, sometimes we like to add to the mix by creating our own. Here are four ways to do it that will keep the children entertained and add a personal layer of beauty to your Hanukkah home:
Recycled Baby Jar Menorah
We all know that baby food jars have a lot of uses, but did you ever think about turning those little glass vessels into a candelabrum? ReformJudaism.org tells you how to do it!
Take eight small baby food jars (and one larger one for the shamash) and gather glue, permanent markers, ribbon, sequins and other crafts. Decorate each jar and let it dry. Form nine balls of molding clay and place one at the bottom of each jar to hold the candles. Alternatively, use tea lights. Arrange the jars and you’re done!
Paint Your Own Menorah
For those who want to think out of the box – but not too much – Judaica.com offers a great Paint Your Own Menorah set. It is loads of fun for kids with acrylic paint and a glitter marker. It’s perfect for mom with little clean up.
For slightly older children, try this craft recommended by Kveller.com.
Take Plaster of Paris and mix with water in a large mixing bowl (yes, this one can get a little messy). You can infuse the “dough” with color by adding some watercolor paint or food coloring to the water before adding the plaster. Create individual candle molds, with tea light candles embedded in then. Be sure to make eight consistent ones and a ninth with more plaster (to be the shamash, worker candle). Once they dry (it takes about 30 minutes), you can decorate or paint them. The children can arrange the nine candles however they want each night of the Jewish holiday.
Painted Wine Bottle Menorah
This is my personal favorite, because it means I have a reason to drink nine bottles of wine ahead of the festival! Inspired by Celebrations this menorah involves nine clear glass bottles and acrylic paint. You take the bottles – wash them out well! – and pour your paint mixture into the bottles. Turn them over on a drop cloth to let any extra paint drip out and then flip them back over to dry overnight. When you are ready, simply place candles inside (and sticking out) of the bottles and light.
To ensure the menorah is kosher, I like to use a beer bottle for the worker candle, which makes it lower than the others.
The Hanukkah menorah represents eight days of miracle and divine light. For my family, when we all come together around the hanukkiah, it also represents a lot of fun. Happy Hanukkah!
Maayan Jaffe is content and community manager for the JCommerce Group, director of international communications for the Israel Democracy Institute and a regular contributing writer to international Jewish media outlets. She raises her four children in Jerusalem, Israel.
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