Chanukah is an eight-day festival celebrated by Jewish people in the middle of winter. At a time when it is the darkest time of year, when it’s cold outside and all you want to do is curl up underneath your blanket and wake up when summer comes back again, Judaism provides us with a festival of lights; eight days of lighting a candelabra together with family and friends; eight days of quality time together when for at least half-an-hour each night you can sit down, with the Chanukah candles burning in front of you, eat a meal together, play games and just enjoy each other’s company.
The human race is gradually waking up to the fact that we are little-by-little destroying our beautiful earth, the only earth that we have. What can we do this Chanukah in order to do our bit for our earth? Here are some green ideas for those who wish to celebrate, enjoy and at the same time do their bit for man-kind.
First things first- the candles. The traditional paraffin candles are made from petroleum which releases a number of carcinogens when burned. Some cheap candles may even contain lead in their wicks which also release toxic fumes when burned. Lead is particularly harmful to our bodies and other animals. In some countries such as the USA and Australia, lead wicks are banned. It is therefore a good idea to try and use natural beeswax or soy candles.
If you’re looking for a new Menorah, don’t go for a cheap, throwaway Menorah, invest the money in buying a beautiful Menorah made from glass, silver or any material of your choice that can be used and enjoyed year after year. There are actually recycled-glass Menorahs on the market nowadays which are both gorgeous and truly green…
Try not to buy plastic dreidels every year- there I really no need for all those dreidels in the house during the rest of the year and if you’re looking to invest in a lovely dreidel, how about one from sustainable wood- yes it really exists. The dreidel can be both enjoyable and eco-friendly.
Every night of Chanukah we sit in front of the candles and enjoy their light- there is something indescribably relaxing about gazing into the flames of the candles- and according to certain Jewish sources there is great power and meaning to be found in the flames. Just an extra thought to think about- the miracle of Chanukah was that a single jar of oil lasted eight days when by “the laws of nature” it should have lasted a single day- if that is not a lesson in resource conservation then what is?!