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My Emmy Nominated Mobile Menorah

Friday, 3 December, 2021 - 11:38 am

A year ago, as I walked back from the Spanish Plaza to my vehicle following our virtual Chanukah @ Riverwalk, I found a note under my windshield wiper. It was from Bill Wood and Jason Abshire, journalists associated with the Wild Bill program at WGNO. They were intrigued by the Menorah on top of the car and were interested in doing a feature story about it. We set a time and a few days later they came to do the story. It ran during Chanukah last year and you can view the story here - https://fb.watch/2sCGAKRwlu/.

After the program ran, I texted Bill and congratulated him on a job well done. He jokingly replied that he will submit it for an Emmy. A year later I come across a news tidbit that the story had actually been nominated for a Suncoast Regional Emmy in the religion category. The competition in that category is mostly about religious scandals and exposes… So, who knows?

While my 300,000 mile Ford Crown Vic is no longer, the legend of the car menorah lives on. In fact, this year, we ordered an additional 30 Menorahs, so we anticipate an expanded parade in the number of vehicles participating. The parade departs from Chabad Uptown at 7:30 Saturday night (Dec 4). There will be a party bus for children and a lot of fun for all involved. The parade route goes from down St. Charles into the CBD, French Quarter, the edge of the Marigny and then back home using the same route.

Some folks question the value of the Mobile Menorahs. They argue that it is merely a publicity stunt and does not accomplish anything of substance. I vehemently disagree. I have seen the excitement that the Mobile Menorahs bring to passersby. This year, I heard from a Shliach in a small town, that he got a call from a man who identified himself as someone who had been cut off from Judaism for many years, but his Jewish spark had burst into flame from seeing the Rabbi’s Mobile Menorah riding around their small town.

One of the principles of Chanukah is Pirsumei Nissa – publicizing the miracle. There is no doubt in my mind that in the past 45 years since the Rebbe launched the public Menorah campaigns, tens of thousands of Jewish sparks have burst into flame as a result, and millions of Mitzvos have been performed. My son Sholom is in Tel Aviv this year. He shared with me that he helped pack 10,000(!) Menorah kits to be distributed on the streets of Tel Aviv this Chanukah. In our Shtetl of New Orleans, hundreds of boxes of candles were distributed along with many Menorahs, at events all over town and direct home delivery.

We are witnessing real change and even transformation! The struggle between light and darkness is tough, but victory is within reach.

Here are some links to the coverage of Chanukah @ Riverwalk.
TV: 
https://www.wdsu.com/article/menorah-lights-up-new-orleans-riverwalk-on-hanukkahs-first-night/38370394
Newspaper: 
https://www.nola.com/multimedia/photos/collection_7f10ba0c-50b1-11ec-9de4-032c944a42cf.html

Facebook Live (Thank you Yishai): https://www.facebook.com/jesse.mahan1/videos/602310824219080.

Shabbat Shalom and Happy Chanukah
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin 

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