Chicago students compete to recycle hanukkiot

Green Menora Contest challenges students to show both their talent and commitment to the environment.

menora 224 88 (photo credit: Galit Greenfield)
menora 224 88
(photo credit: Galit Greenfield)
The same week that an Israeli environmentalist sparked a Hanukka controversy by encouraging Jews around the world to light one less candle due to global warming, a group of American college students found a less contentious way to turn the winter holiday green. Students from campuses across the Chicago area were asked to show their artistic talents and commitment to the environment through their participation in the Green Menora Contest, a competition to create a hanukkia entirely from recycled materials. Galit Greenfield, the program director for the Chicago area Hillel's arts program, said the idea for the concept came from the Hanukka story. She said the fact that just enough oil was found to light the menora for one day but it lasted eight was essentially an environmental message. "The story of Hanukka is very relevant today when we think of conservation and the importance of making our resources last," said Michelle Maer, executive director of Hillels Around Chicago. The students made the menorahs from all kinds of recycled materials that they found. Columbia College's art school supplied free materials. This is the first year for the project, which its organizers hope will become a tradition. The contest was open to all students in the schools around Chicago, including non-Jews. The event is being sponsored by the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago's Jewish Community Relations Council, USD Hagshama and the Hillels at Columbia College, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Roosevelt University.