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Holiday lights symbol of acceptance

BY HEIDI ULRICHSEN On the Cartmans? front lawn sits a large, nine-pronged electric menorah. Next door, their neighbour?s pine tree is decorated with a string of multi-coloured lights. Saul Cartman erected a menorah on his lawn for Hanukkah.
BY HEIDI ULRICHSEN

On the Cartmans? front lawn sits a large, nine-pronged electric menorah. Next door, their neighbour?s pine tree is decorated with a string of multi-coloured lights.

Saul Cartman erected a menorah on his lawn for Hanukkah. ?Just the fact that we aren?t afraid to do it means that we are very fortunate here,? say the Cartmans.
To the Jewish couple, this juxtaposition of holiday decorations symbolizes everything they work for on a daily basis. The Cartmans, who represent the Jewish community on the Sudbury Interfaith Council, say they are proud Sudburians are so tolerant of other cultures.

?It means a lot to us. Just the fact that we aren?t afraid to do it means that we are very fortunate here. Sudburians are very tolerant of other faiths,? says Judi Cartman, who is also the president of the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue. There are about 25 Jewish families in the Sudbury area.

Her husband, Saul, decided to create the outdoor decoration this year in celebration of Hanukkah, which begins this Wednesday, Dec. 8. Their two grandsons, Michael, 7, and Aaron, 6, had noticed Christmas lights everywhere, and wondered why their grandparents? house wasn?t decorated for the
holidays.

?Their questions pushed me. It wasn?t a lot of work to make it. It was just putting some ideas together . . . If I had to do it again, it would probably take one tenth of the time,? says Saul, laughing.

It took Saul about eight hours over four weeks to create the menorah. The decoration was made mostly by his own hands, although he did hire a welder to do the metalwork.

Because he did his own wiring, he says he made sure to use a very low voltage to avoid any risk of electrocution.

Saul thinks his outdoor menorah is the first of its kind in Sudbury, although he?s seen about 30 in the Toronto area. Most of those decorations are on the lawns of synagogues, he says.

So far, the Cartmans have had a positive reception from their close-knit group of Falconbridge Road area neighbours.

?They?ve commented favourably,? says Saul.

Until Hanukkah night, the couple are planning to keep the menorah fully lit. On the holiday, they plan to unscrew seven of the light bulbs so that only two are lit up, and then add the bulbs one at a time throughout the eight nights of the Hanukkah season.

This is also what happens with a regular, candle-lit menorah, says Judi. The middle candle is always lit, and the other eight candles are lit from left to
right on successive nights.

Menorahs are lit during Hanukkah in memory of a miracle that happened over 2,000 years ago, she says. The Jews had recaptured a temple from the Greek army, and decided to light a menorah in celebration. There was only enough oil to light the menorah for one day, and it miraculously burned for
eight days.

But the couple say they are really just doing their part to help light up the dark December skies. Hanukkah is a celebration of light, says Judi, as are many of the holidays celebrated by other faiths at this time of year. ?Everybody has candles at this time of year because darkness is bad, and everybody wants light. It makes a lot of sense,? she says.

The Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue will hold a Hanukkah party on Dec. 12 at 4:30 p.m. For more information, phone 566-9487.



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