Hanukkah starts tonight, with the lighting of the first of eight candles on the Hanukkiya, or Menorah, or if you are TreeHugger Fearless Leader Ken Rother, the first LED on his lovely breadboarded electronic menorah. We interviewed Ken about it on Planet Green, and you can get your own plans from Evil Mad Scientist here purchase a more finished version of it (shown below) from their store.
They say it is very easy to build from their kit: "includes a pre-programmed microcontroller, battery holder, nine ultrabright LEDs, an alignment guide for the LEDs, and a laser-cut acrylic stand."
Slightly more conventional and a lot more durable is the Manorah from Notschlock. They also make a PVC Femenorah blinged out with genuine Swarovski crystals, but you know how we feel about PVC. More Menorah Madness: Notschlock
Our Gift Guide of 2005 included a lovely recycled glass menorah from Vertige.
Karin writes that Hanukkah has an environmental message: how could a one-day supply of oil last eight days and nights? "It represents an early example of energy conservation with relevance to our current environmental challenges," writes Adam Stern who is also the exec director of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL). More in Burning the Midnight Oil, For Eight Holy Days
Always the optimist, I called it the Peak Oil Holiday. "There was only enough oil to burn for one day, but it would take eight days to prepare more; miraculously one days supply of oil lasted for eight. We suspect that in years to come a lot more people will be praying for such a miracle"
Some have even suggested that Jews shouldn't light all the candles. Green Hanukkia suggest that if every Jew around the world would burn one less candle this Hanukkah holiday, then 15 grams of carbon dioxide [per candle?] will be spared from the environment. Rabbis were not amused. A Little Light Goes Out For Global Warming
Speaking of Peak Oil, the highlight of Hanukkah is the dishing out of the Latkes, or potato pancakes. Over on Planet Green, Kelly posts the recipe for the best latkes in the world, period.
She also did a version with sweet potatoes, She wrote, "Of course, I can't mess with tradition" and then she does. Good, but Aunt Sarah would not be amused.