Majestic ice menorah ready for Hanukkah in freezing Siberia

The menorah is expected to stand outside the synagogue in Tomsk until it warms up around Pesach.
By ROSSELLA TERCATIN | The Jerusalem Post

A majestic ice menorah is ready to warm up the freezing city of Tomsk, Siberia, where it’s going to be lit every night of the festival of Hanukkah. 

Hanukkah, known as the festival of lights, begins on Sunday evening and will be celebrated for eight days and eight nights. While Jews all over the world are going to light nine-branch candelabras, not many communities can boast such a special, 3m. high menorah. 

The sculpture was created by artist, who worked on it for a week, Rebbetzin Gitty Kamintzky explained. Rabbi Levi Kamintzky and Gitty Kamintzky are Chabad emissaries in Tomsk. Gitty explained, “We have been here for 15 years, but this is the first time that we have built an ice menorah.” 

The artwork features a prominent star of David on a base with a design resembling the stones of the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Gitty and her husband have been in Tomsk for 15 years, organizing activities that range from Shabbat services to educational programs, activities for children and youth and communal holiday celebrations. Gitty said that around 5,000 Jews are estimated to live in the city, although it is difficult to identify a precise number. 

In Tomsk, the average temperatures don’t go above -2 between November and March, therefore the menorah is expected to stand outside the synagogue for a long time. Gitty explained, “It will be there until it warms up in Siberia, which happens around April. So I guess it will melt more or less around Pesach.” 

The synagogue is a historical building which dates back 120 years. Next to it stands a new building, which the Chabad emissaries hope to inaugurate in the upcoming spring in order to function as a children’s center. Gitty told The Jerusalem Post that “the old and the new buildings stand next to each other, symbolizing the revival of Jewish life in Siberia.”

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