At-risk kids in Israel build ‘miracle menorahs’

Published on Wednesday, 12 December 2012 by Webmaster

At-risk kids in Israel build ‘miracle menorahs’
group of teens in the small town of Yeruham are behind the biggest hit this Hanukkah in Israel: a menorah made out of multicolored sands found in southern Israel, especially in the Ramon Crater. The menorahs have been sold to dozens of companies for distribution to workers as a Hanukkah gift, and are being featured in a chain of Israeli convenience stores.

The kids involved in the project, said coordinator Yuval Lavi, are mostly high school dropouts or otherwise in trouble, and are not currently studying or working. The idea, said Lavi, was to involve them “in a project where they could feel they accomplished something.”

Working with artist Reut Bashan of the Holon Institute of Technology(HIT), who is well-known in Israel for her sand artwork, a group called Zionism 2000, which encourages at-risk youth to get involved in the business world, took up the project and got the Yeruham kids involved.

The kids are involved in all aspects of the business, including arranging the sand in the menorah containers and packing and shipping them, and are responsible for outlays, expenses, salaries, and profits. The company has about two dozen employees, and as its customer base expands, Lavi said it will take on more projects and hire more workers. "This was such a successful project that we are planning to keep the business going, and develop more sand products," said Lavi.

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