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Sculpting the Festival of Lights
SMA's Monumental Menorah
Sunday, Nov. 28, 5:30pm

Judah Maccabee leading the revolt

by Dr David, Editor / Publisher

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is the commemoration of a historical event. On this date, 2200 years ago, outnumbered and out-gunned, the Israelites won a war against oppression and rededicated their most sacred place.

But Hanukkah is also a reliving of this historical event. It is an opportunity to vanquish the forces that personally oppress us and renew our dedication to what is most important in life.

That hundreds of thousands of people are participating in this renewal, lighting the Hanukkah menorah (candelabra) around the world, supports our personal and spiritual resolve.

The public Menorah Campaign, launched in 1973 by Chabad, will, this year, set up more than 15,000 large public menorahs in more than 100 countries around the world. Many will be positioned in front of landmarks, such as the White House, the Eiffel Tower, and the Kremlin.

This Sunday evening, in Parque Juarez (one of our local landmarks) the San Miguel community will publically light our own monumental menorah. Please come.

The Jewish people won a military and spiritual victory in the second century BCE, renewing Jewish culture. Similarly, the public Menorah Campaign has revitalized widespread observance of the holiday, proclaiming the ultimate triumph of light over darkness and freedom over oppression.

Last year's menorah

This year SMA's monumental menorah is, again, the creation of local artist and designer Meila Penn, realized by local metalworker Rodolfo Valenzuela Ceballos. It will feature a novel circular design with a gap bridged by a row of lights.

The circle represents the infinite cycle of miracles and blessings in all areas of our lives. The gap alludes to those times when there seems to be a break in that pattern of goodness. The row of lights that bridge the gap in the broken circle signify that during those dark times, we must look for ways to increase our acts of goodness and kindness. Rising to the challenge of those difficult times propels us to greater growth than we could have achieved if all had been smooth sailing.

As a new light is added each night of the holiday, Meila's menorah takes on widely different shapes depending on one's vantage point. This phenomenon of perspective reminds us that we must be ever-mindful of differing opinions, and respectful of those with different worldviews. This is a message especially important in our age of hyperpolarization.

The menorah has a different finish on its two sides. There is a patina on one side and the other is polished. The artist shares that this reflects two sides of Judaism, antiquities and modernism, building on the traditions of the past and living those in a new age, always adapting and progressing. Meila found her inspiration for this in the blessing said while lighting the menorah, thanking G-d for the miracles done "in those days, in these times."

Rabbi Daniel, Raizel and kids

Two thousand, two hundred years ago, after Alexander's conquests, the Israelites had been forced to abandon their religious beliefs and accept Greek culture. Against all odds, a small band of poorly armed Jews, rebelled. Practicing guerilla warfare, they defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, driving out the Greeks and rededicating the Temple in Jerusalem.

When they sought to light the Temple's menorah, they found only enough oil, that had escaped contamination, to last for one day. Miraculously, that one-day supply lasted for eight days, until new oil could be prepared.

Rabbi Daniel Huebner, Director of Chabad of SMA, tells us his two favorite messages from the holiday:

"First, never be afraid to stand up for what is right. The small band of Jews faced daunting odds, but that didn't stop them. With a prayer on their lips and faith in their heart, they entered the battle of their lives—and won. We can do the same."

"Second, we always need to increase in matters of goodness and mitzvot [righteous observance]. While a single light was enough for yesterday, today we need to find a way to add to that, to increase our level of commitment."

Come to Parque Juarez Sunday evening to start the holiday together. Come every evening through the following Sunday, when all eight flames will be glowing, when the menorah can be seen at its best. Or get a menorah from Rabbi Daniel, so that each evening at home you can add to the light of Hanukkah, and your own personal renewal.

Contact Rabbi Daniel,, or come to the park to get your menorah.

Detail of last year's menorah

This year Chabad of SMA will be hosting a variety of events including:
• public menorah lightings at Parque Juarez
• a Hanukkah children's party
• a Hanukkah adult's party
• a children's program
• a boutique olive oil tasting event
• a Hanukkah Shabbat dinner

For the whole schedule check out

The menorah will be on display in Parque Juarez throughout Hanukkah, from November 28 through December 6. It will be lit each evening at 5:30. The menorah created by Meila last year will be on display outside the Angela Peralta Theater.

For Hanukkah candles, chocolate gelt or other Hanukkah supplies, contact:


Meila Penn, originally from Los Angeles, after visiting San Miguel many times, decided to her home here in December 2019.

"I've been inspired by Art and Design my entire life. As a kid, I'd like to draft buildings and think about light and space. As a professional, I began as a photographer, capturing images and scenes around the world. I now have a wide-ranging creative practice that encompasses installation, sculpture, design and furniture."

"My work is custom. I love working with clients and creating something uniquely them, whether it’s furniture or interiors or just a bowl. I'm currently pursuing new art forms, including weaving and glasswork. Living in San Miguel has been a real gift for me as an artist."

Meila Penn Installation Art, Furniture and Interior Design:
WhatsApp: +1.323.397.9728

Rodolfo Valenzuela Ceballos
Artistic Metalworker


Dr David and his merry band believe that the new expanded Lokkal will change the world, city by city.

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