It's all going down this weekend as Chabad of Santa Monica and its oil-fueled, traditional menorah faces off against Santa Monica Synagogue and its light-bulb illuminated, new-school menorah at Third Street Promenade in the Westside city.
Chabad of Santa Monica used to run the menorah show on the shopping street, but Bayside District Corp., which manages the Promenade, decided to end its multi-year run and invited the Synagogue folks to light 'em if they got 'em. The change prompted Chabad to set up an unofficial, second menorah on Third Street to keep it real. Rabbi Eli Levitansky of the Chabad, which is Orthodox, tells the Santa Monica Daily Press that the Synagogue's electric menorah is "symbolic, but it's not the real deal."
The Synagogue menorah is at the Promenade's Center Court. The Orthodox one is just to the north of the court. The new-school menorah will gets its Chanukah lighting Sunday, although the eight-day holiday begins Friday at sundown.
The Synagogue will be attempting a world record during Sunday's festivities: It's organizing an attempt to spin 603 dreidels at the same time, according to the Daily Press.
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Rabbi Jeff Marx downplayed the oil-vs.-electric rivalry, saying, "The result is still the same: we get to re-tell the story of Chanukah."