This article was first published on eastsidefeed.com
On Sunday, November 28 at 5:30pm, the lighting of the world’s largest menorah will take place at Grand Army Plaza at the southeast corner of Central Park, in celebration of the first night of Hanukkah.
The menorah was erected in 1973 by Rabbi Shmuel Butman. Every year since its inception, the menorah has been lit in commemoration of the Festival of Lights, and Rabbi Butman has been lighting the menorah every year since 1978. The 4,000 pound steel structure, designed by Israeli artist Yaacov Agam, was inspired by the original menorah in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem.
When asked how it feels to light the menorah, Rabbi Butman told ILTUWS, “It’s nice to see how much people appreciate their pride and appreciate their freedom. The menorah stands for all people: be it race, religion, color or creed.”
Standing 32 feet tall, it is the largest menorah permitted by Halacha-Jewish law, with candlesticks rising from the rectangular base which shoot off diagonally.
Sponsored by the Lubavitch Youth Organization, the menorah was certified as the largest in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2006, edging out a menorah crafted by Rabbi Shimon Hecht which stands at the Grand Army Plaza in Park Slope, Brooklyn.
Built eleven years after Butman’s menorah, Rabbi Hecht’s also stands at 32 feet. For years, Hecht claimed his menorah was the tallest, but an up close review showed Butman’s was actually six inches taller. Both will be lit on Sunday to mark the first night of Hanukkah.
The complete schedule of lightings is as follows:
- Sunday, November 28 at 5:30pm
- Monday November 29 at 5:30pm
- Tuesday November 30 at 5:30pm
- Wednesday December 1 at 5:30pm
- Thursday December 2 at 5:30pm
- Friday December 3 at 3:30pm
- Saturday December 4 at 8pm
- Sunday December 5 at 5:30pm
The lighting is free and open to the public. You can find more information here.