Rabbi Ephraim Silverman hopes to impart the charitable lessons behind Chanukah gelt through Chabad of Cobb’s project Lights of Change.
To help tie the holiday’s message of shedding light on a sometimes-dark world, Rabbi Silverman said, Chabad of Cobb is partnering with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to build the world’s largest coin menorah, with the proceeds going to Children’s.
“We wanted to do something fun for the family and the kids but also help connect the idea behind Chanukah,” Rabbi Silverman said.
Children and families are collecting loose change so they can build a 10-foot coin menorah, which will be lighted Sunday, Dec. 17, the sixth night of Chanukah, at East Cobb Park during a celebration that includes other holiday activities, music and treats.
People will be able to bring cash to the event and get change for the menorah.
“Chanukah is an opportunity to educate our children about our history but also about giving,” Rabbi Silverman said. He hopes that the youths will gain a better perspective on charity by realizing that their coins will help other children who are ill or are undergoing treatment.
Chabad of Cobb expects to raise $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the quantity and value of coins donated. But Rabbi Silverman said the money is not the focus. “I think the underlying concept is really about kids helping other kids and understanding how much light they can bring to people during Chanukah.”
Chabad of Cobb hopes to expand Lights of Change in the future to include other organizations and communities.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea about children helping children and believe it will kick off to other organizations,” said Pam Younker, Children’s community development officer.
The congregation has partnered with Children’s for similar projects, including an annual Sukkot Festival, which Children’s helped sponsor.
Children’s has not decided where the money will be allocated. “There are many needs in our system, but we always try to look to see where the biggest need is for contributions,” Younker said. “This is such an opportunity for Chabad of Cobb and Children’s, but the magnification past that and what the congregation is teaching children and the community is beyond exciting.”
Rabbi Silverman said: “I think what the Torah wants us to understand is that the true joy of Chanukah is about opening up our homes and hearts to other people … and realizing that every penny, every coin, counts. It all adds up.”
What: Chabad of Cobb Lights of Change menorah lighting
Where: East Cobb Park, 3322 Roswell Road
When: 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17
Cost: Free; www.chabadofcobb.com