Doughnut menorah offers a sweet treat for Chanukah

November 23, 2010

By Laura Geggel

The Chabad of the Central Cascades will celebrate the first of eight nights of Chanukah with this giant, nine-foot-tall menorah made out of doughnuts. Contributed

Normally, people of the Jewish faith grapple with the eternal Chanukah question of applesauce or sour cream, and which one tastes better on delicious potato pancakes called latkes.

This year, those attending the annual Chanukah celebration in the Issaquah Highlands will encounter another question: How many doughnuts will fit on a nine-foot menorah?

The Chabad of the Central Cascades is hosting a family-friendly festival of lights for the first day of Chanukah, and instead of featuring a menorah made out of LEGOs, balloons or candy, as Issaquah’s Chabad has in past years, this season’s centerpiece will be made of treats that would make Homer Simpson drool: kosher doughnuts.

Chabad Executive Director Rabbi Berry Farkash estimated it would take 300 doughnuts to decorate the menorah and satiate the appetites of people harboring a sweet tooth.

“After that, whatever few doughnuts will be left over will go to the local food bank,” he said.

The celebration will also have dreidel games with chocolate gelt candy, plenty of latkes and menorah Silly Bandz bracelets for the children.

Issaquah Councilman Joshua Schaer said his family, especially his 2-year-old daughter, enjoys the annual community festivity.

“I think my daughter is just getting old enough to appreciate a dreidel. She’s learning how to spin it,” he said.

Carnation resident Rick Pezzner, who has attended the highlands Chanukah celebration in the past with his five grandchildren, said that last year there were upward of 80 children and 100 adults surrounding the menorah.

“It was fabulous and a big hit with all of the kids,” Pezzner said. “People are really sweet and very inviting. Typically, they invite anybody who wants to participate in Chanukah. That’s what this rabbi and his wife have put together, is a sense of community for Jews on the Eastside.”

Chanukah celebrates a miracle of light that happened more than 2,100 years ago, when oil lasted eight days though there was only enough for one day, Farkash said.

Chanukah also propagates the universal message that good will ultimately prevail over evil, freedom over oppression and light over darkness, Farkash said.

During the highlands’ menorah lighting, participants will be invited to watch a video showcasing other miracles that have happened in the past 100 years.

The Farkash family has two other giant menorahs locally: one in downtown Issaquah at Front Street North and Northeast Dogwood Street and another at Sammamish City Hall.

Issaquah resident Lauren Segal said her family always goes to the highlands’ menorah lighting.

“Everything is always very Christmas, so when he put out this big, giant menorah, it was like, ‘Wow, we have a presence in the community,’” she said about Farkash. “It felt really good.”

Segal added that she knows many people who do not have family in Issaquah, meaning they have to spend Chanukah by themselves.

“When I grew up, Chanukah was with my family,” she said, “There were 60 of us and it was fun.”

The Chabad’s Chanukah gives her that community connection that reminds her of celebrating with her family as a girl, she said.

Schaer agreed, and said he was looking forward to celebrating Chanukah, especially with the doughnut menorah.

“I am definitely impressed by the architecture of it,” he said.

If you go

Menorah lighting

  • 6 p.m. Dec. 1
  • Blakely Hall
  • 2550 N.E. Park Drive
  • A $5 donation is suggested.

Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 241, or Comment at

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