Rica Allam, who lives in Stuttgart, loves celebrating Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, which begins tonight. There is only one problem: in her hometown it is very difficult to find a menorah.
So she learned to make one herself.
Ms. Allam, a university advisor and mother of two, is one of only about 118,000 people living in Germany today who identify as Jewish. After the birth of her second child, she began making educational videos on TikTok, in which she explains Jewish life to other Germans. Her posts, which have attracted more than 36,000 followers, include instructions on how to make DIY menorahs with the help of her sons, Leor and Samuel.
Ms. Allam, whose family is of Dutch and Czech origin, was not raised religious but had something of an awakening during her junior year of high school while studying as an exchange student in Rhode Island. “I had never met so many Jews in my life,” Ms. Allam recalled.
It’s hard for her to find such a church in Germany, where she often “feels like a unicorn because she’s Jewish,” she said. But she doesn’t want her children, ages 4 and 1, to “just ignore Jewish holidays and backgrounds.”
Creativity provided a solution.
“I always try to make fun of Judaism because we have a lot of rules,” Ms Allam said.
To make a menorah like Ms. Allam’s, you’ll need a plank of wood as a base; nine small blocks of wood (one taller than the rest); paint (acrylic for the board and spray paint for the blocks); nine thimbles; Sticky letters to spell out “Hanukkah” (or “Hanukah”, “Hannuka” etc. depending on your preferred transliteration) and your child’s name if you wish; a hot glue gun; wood glue; and your Hanukkah candles (and a lighter).
Step 1: Paint the board with acrylic paint and let it dry.
Step 2: Spray the nine wooden blocks. Glue them together in a row with wood glue, with the tallest block at the end, and then attach them to the board with the wood glue.
Step 3 Glue the letters “Hanukkah” to the faces of the eight smaller wooden blocks, one letter per cube. If you also have letters for a name, tape them to the board in front of the row of blocks.
Step 4: Using the hot glue gun, attach the thimbles to the top of each of the nine blocks.
Step 5: Put candles in the thimbles; The largest block should be reserved for the “shamash” or auxiliary candle that you use to light the rest. Light candles and celebrate!