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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

December 2, 2016  RSS feed
Front Page

Text: T T T

Rabbi becomes laser-focused on Festival of Lights

By BOB FRYER Jewish Press


The laser lights project menorahs on Rabbi Mendy Yarmush’s house in Wesley Chapel. The laser lights project menorahs on Rabbi Mendy Yarmush’s house in Wesley Chapel. Drive down most any residential street this time of year and you’ll see oodles of homes with Christmas light displays, but if you drive past Rabbi Mendy Yarmush’s home in Wesley Chapel you will see bright green laser lights in the shape of menorahs and dreidels – in celebration of Hanukkah.

Rabbi Yarmush came up with the idea when he saw a laser light show at a Hanukkah celebration last year and since them set himself on a mission to create a product to allow Jews to celebrate the Festival of Lights by lighting up their own homes with Hanukkah holiday images.

The rabbi said he had no engineering experience but he knew what he wanted – bright light displays of menorahs and dreidels – but it took time to weigh the pros and cons of laser lights vs LEDs, researching projectors and a variety of lenses and then talking with several manufacturing companies in China, telling them what he wanted and receiving samples to try out.


Rabbi Mendy Yarmush created the new company, Chanukah Laser Lights. Rabbi Mendy Yarmush created the new company, Chanukah Laser Lights. He even spent nights last summer projecting images of menorahs on the front of his home, trying to decide what looked best and how large the images should be.

Eventually he settled on the projector, the lens and the images he wanted, and launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $18,000 to get his fledgling Chanukah Laser Lights business off the ground. He met his goal in just about a month, receiving support from 57 individuals from Switzerland, Belgium, Canada and the United States.

It was a nine-month process from the time he saw the laser light display until he received shipment from China of the product he is now offering for sale, initially priced at $149.99 but now listed at $64.99.


Dreidel laser lights illuminate the Chabad Jewish Centre at Wiregrass. Dreidel laser lights illuminate the Chabad Jewish Centre at Wiregrass. When it was pointed out that the nine months from concept to product was the length of a pregnancy, he quipped, “Yes, but this may have been more painful.”

Rabbi Yarmush, leader of Chabad Jewish Centre at Wiregrass in Pasco County, acknowledged that some might question whether it is too Christmasy. “It is the Festival of Lights and an integral part of the holiday is spreading light, spreading the message of the miracle. This has been an integral part of the holiday for ages. To me, it is not putting lights on my house, but a menorah,” Rabbi Yarmush said.

He said he is “always looking for new ways to share the message of the menorah.”

For years, Rabbi Yarmush would put up large public menorahs around his hometown of Toronto, but was looking for something more.

“I wanted to create a way for every Jewish home to tell the Hanukkah story. As a child, I was proud to go up with my father on a cherry picker to light the public menorah at City Hall,” Rabbi Yarmush said, “I believe Chanukah Laser Lights enables each child to experience that feeling and proudly share the message of Hanukkah from their home.”

Quality of his product was a chief concern, Rabbi Yarmush said, adding that the projector he sells is in a waterproof aluminum box that can be used outdoors in nearly any climate. One projector, placed about 25 feet away from the home, can project images of menorahs or dreidels in a pattern about 25 feet wide and 25 feet high, which is ideal for display on a two story home, or for a significant portion of a ranch style one-story home.

Rabbi Yarmush said some people project the lights onto garage doors, but he said they project nicely on any façade and that for large homes, folks may want to use two projectors. The projector has a remote control so it can be activated from up to 40 feet away. It displays menorahs, then dreidels, but can be paused to just display one or the other, and there is also a strobe feature to make the lights flash at different speeds. It also has a timer so the lights can be on from 2, 4, 6 or 8 hours.

A green light was chosen for the displays because it is “the brightest color visible to the human eye,” states the website, www.chanukahlaserlights.com.

He said he has ordered what he believes is a sufficient quantity of the lights for this Hanukkah season and said if sales are successful he intends to continue selling them in years to come.

The product is new to the market and Rabbi Yarmush said sales have been “slow, but growing.” He is hopeful as more learn of his product, sales will take off.

“Whoever I show it to loves it,” Rabbi Yarmush said. “It’s simple, it’s beautiful, and, most importantly, it helps people retell this powerful story.”

Chanukah Laser Lights can be found on Amazon.com, or can be ordered directly from the company website at www.chanukahlaserlights.com.


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