Menorah Motorcade

A plastic menorah adorns a limousine that took part in last year’s parade.

Every year in cities across the U.S., Chabad holds Chanukah parades featuring vehicles decorated with various kinds of menorahs.

The first such local menorah parade was held in Phoenix in 2011. Last year’s parade, organized by Chabad of Arizona, saw some 52 vehicles make the drive from Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza — a park in front of the Arizona state capitol, where a large public menorah is lit — through downtown Phoenix to the Chabad Lubavitch of Arizona regional headquarters.

This year’s parade will take the same route, and once back at the regional headquarters there will be a Chanukah party featuring food, games and entertainment.

“It’s obviously all about spreading the light of Chanukah and the power of the miracle and, in general, it’s a universal message,” said Rabbi Levi Levertov of Chabad of Arizona. “This is a great way to celebrate it and share it with others, and of course for Jewish people to see it. It’s a beautiful point of Jewish pride.”

The parade showcases cars adorned with many different kinds of decorations, everything from manufactured ornaments that mount to cars with magnets or are connected to roof racks to more DIY decorations, such as a propane-fueled menorah constructed by Meir Schwabinger.

“Being a plumber by trade, I took some fittings, pipe nipples and sections of iron pipe, and put together a menorah,” Schwabinger said. “I customized the top by drilling holes in the top caps of the fittings, so we can have an outlet for gas. I connected the gas line from a propane tank like you would use on any barbecue. I lit the flames and we had a beautiful looking menorah.”

Schwabinger said he did experience some technical challenges last year, such as wind blowing out the flames while driving, that he is working to resolve for this year’s parade.

Another aspect of the parade includes the classic cars that participate, such as a 1957 Chevy Studebaker that was featured last year.

Levertov said part of the fun of the parade is seeing community members’ reactions as the procession moves by.

“A lot of people are obviously fascinated by it,” Levertov said. “People come out on the streets to look. On Seventh Street, a lot of people came out from the kosher establishments over there.” JN

The menorah lighting at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza takes place at 4:45 p.m. and the parade will kick off at 5:45 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 18.

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