Festival of Lights: Decorating for Hanukkah in Israel

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lighted hanukka menorah

The Festival of Lights, also known as Hanukkah, is a joyous occasion celebrated by many around the world. This year, I was fortunate enough to take part in several projects in different cities across Israel to help decorate for this special holiday. The goal was to create a grand menorah visible from afar that would have an additional candle lit each night to match the real menorah. With the use of bright, colorful hanukkah decorations, we were able to bring the festival of lights to life in each city!

Selecting a location for the lighted Hanukkah Menorah

When it came time to select a location for the giant Menorah to mark the Hanukkah holiday, we had plenty of choices. We finally chose Haifa as our starting point, but eventually, many other cities across Israel, such as Jerusalem, Ramat Gan and Ashkelon, also set up these massive Hanukkah decorations. The plan was to have a very large menorah that could be seen from afar, and with the help of fairy lights and curtain lights, the whole display would come to life. Each day a new candle would be lit, symbolizing the miracle of Hanukkah.

Designing the lighted Menorah

One of the most important parts of decorating for Chanukah in Israel was designing the lighted Menorah. We had to come up with a design that was both visually appealing and appropriate for the holiday. After brainstorming various ideas, we decided to go with a V-shaped menorah made out of trusses.

We placed special waterproof lights that slowly changed colors on the trusses, and put a neon flex LED shaped like a flame at the top of each terrace, representing a candle. We also hung curtain lights, fairy lights, and glowing orbs to create a unique and beautiful design. The end result was a magnificent menorah that could be seen from a distance, and that was a fitting way to celebrate the holiday of Chanukah.

Hanukka menorah-festival of lifghts

building the 1st Menorah

We began building the Menorah by constructing a special cage inside which we placed two large weights weighing 1 ton each. We then attached 8 lighting trusses, 6 meters long, to the cage in a V-shape.

In the center of the Menorah, we added a 2-meter-long lighting truss that symbolized the Shamas. At the bottom of each column, we affixed a waterproof and color-changing fixture, and then connected red LED flex neon flames to the top of each post.

For electrical purposes, we lowered a cable from each post to the base of the truss post and connected it to an electrical panel with 8 different ignitions – one for each day of Chanukah. Finally, we decorated the Menorah with fairy lights and curtain lights to add an extra layer of sparkle and festivity.

As the sun set on the first night of Hanukkah, we lit up the menorah and admired our hard work.
With every additional candle lit each night, the menorah shone even brighter until it was almost too bright to look at! By the last night of Hanukkah, fairy lights twinkled like stars around the menorah while curtains of light framed its majestic structure.

It was truly a magical sight to behold! I was so proud to have been part of such a meaningful project that celebrated such an important holiday.

Lighting the Menorah

On the first night of Hanukkah, the menorah was lit for the first time in each of the cities. Every day some of our team members came to the different menorahs around the country and lit another candle in the giant menorahs we built.

It was an incredibly special moment each night as the additional candles were lit. The menorah was designed in such a way that the curtain lights and fairy lights provided an extra glow to the ceremony. As the number of candles lit increased, so did the beauty of the sight. We were delighted with how beautiful these menorahs looked, and even more so with how they represented the spirit of Hanukkah.

The second design – a Hanukkah Menorah lit by fairy lights

This menorah was much more complex and was set up in the national park in Ramat Gan. The menorah was built on the basis of 8 square towers at a height of 8 meters and another tower for the Shamash at a height of 9 meters. Each side was initially wrapped with a white cloth and basically covered the skeleton of the tower.

before - illuminated menorahs

In order to achieve a spectacular lighting effect, we covered each side of the tower square with Christmas curtain lights, and adorned them with fairy lights, thus creating a three-dimensional effect that is visible from every direction in the park. We climbed to the top of each tower and untied the illuminated ropes from it, which took quite a bit of time. When we finished, we also lowered an electrical cable that connected to our ignition panel, of course we did not forget to install a red neon LED flex flame at a height of 80 cm.

So basically we got 8 lighted candles at a height of 8.8 meters and another sun at a height of 9.6 meters adorned with fairy lights, for a truly festive display.

The night of the big reveal was quite a sight to behold. As each curtain light and fairy light flickered on, the illuminated menorah glowed brightly and cast a beautiful, soft glow over the park.

It was truly a magical sight and one that will stay with us forever. From that night forward, every evening a new candle was lit, creating a festive atmosphere as each day passed by. We were proud to have created such an amazing display and were humbled to be part of the Festival of Lights. Also here, as in the other illuminated menorahs, every day one of us came to light an additional candle.

lighted hanukka menorah

We received a lot of compliments on the menorah and we realized that a lot of people came to watch the menorah, which was one of the largest in the world The curtain lights and fairy lights gave the menorah an extra special touch wtih the combination of the curtains and fairy lights created a unique and festive atmosphere, as the warm white curtain lights lit up the night sky.

The warm glow from the lights illuminated some of the park area, and made it a truly beautiful sight. We were proud to have created such a wonderful display, and we were humbled to be part of this beautiful Festival of Lights.

Every night the fairy lights sparkled like tiny stars against the darkening sky and brought warmth and joy to everyone who visited. Additionally, the curtain lights added another layer of enchantment and festivity to the menorah, with their vibrant colors dancing around the towering structure.

Thanks to the fairy lights and curtain lights, we could feel the spirit of Hanukkah come alive throughout the city. Even when it wasn’t possible to visit in person, many miles away could see the brilliant glow emanating from our magnificent structure. It was an unforgettable experience being able to share this momentous holiday with friends, family, and even strangers – all thanks to these lovely fairy lights and curtain lights!

Celebrating Hanukkah festival of lights – A little about Hanukkah

Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish festival of lights and is celebrated by Jews all over the world. It usually starts on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev and ends on the 2nd or 3rd day of Tevet.

The central celebration of Hanukkah is the lighting of the menorah, a candelabrum with nine branches. On each night of the holiday, an additional candle is lit until all eight candles are lit. This symbolic event reminds us of the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days in the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in 165 BCE.

Hanukkah is also celebrated with singing, dancing, and games such as dreidel spinning. Food is also an important part of Hanukkah celebrations. Latkes, potato pancakes fried in oil, are one of the most popular Hanukkah dishes. Other traditional treats include sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts) and Hanukkah gelt (coins).

One of the highlights of Hanukkah celebrations is decorating homes and streets with colorful curtain lights and fairy lights. The illumination created by these lights is meant to symbolize the light of faith and hope that can be found even in times of darkness. Hanukkah is a time for joy and celebrating the miracles that come our way.

On a personal note

Although the construction and lighting of the menorah went relatively smoothly, with no major glitches, I had a minor mishap myself. As I was descending one of the towers that held the curtain lights, I, unfortunately, fell from a height of 1.5 m, breaking one of my ribs in the process. Fortunately, I am on the mend now, although I’m still in pain.

Seeing the final product come to life and all of us standing around the fairy lights illuminating the menorah was truly beautiful. Hanukkah is a special holiday that celebrates miracles and light, so it was such a privilege to be able to help create a real-life representation of this message!

Thanks

At the end of this project, I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to Gil Teichman and Gabi Gabriel for making the Hanukkah Festival of Lights project a reality. Their vision and hard work made it possible to decorate Israel with lighted Menorahs using both curtain lights and fairy lights. This unique display was an amazing sight, and it brought people together in a wonderful way. Thank you, Gil and Gabi!

Arik Akunis
Arik Akunis

My name is Arik Akunis and I have been in the field of lighting for over the last 20 years, I started my journey in the world of lighting in the lighting niche for events where I first came across a festival of lights and immediately fell in love with it.


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