Refurbished Westinghouse menorah, Christmas tree sculpture find home in Export
A holiday roadside display that once greeted Pittsburgh-area travelers is aglow once more in Export, where Jewish families have counted down the eight days of Hanukkah by lighting, one by one, the candles on a giant menorah along Kennedy Avenue.
With guidance from adults, several children Tuesday flipped a switch to light a bulb atop one more of the oversized candles rising above a hilltop community park.
“There's eight days, but there's nine candles,” said Rebekah Anthony, 8, of Export. “The top one doesn't count as a day — it lights all the rest.”
The Jewish Festival of Lights commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem where, according to the Talmud, there was enough consecrated oil to relight the candelabra for just one day, yet it miraculously remained lit for eight days.
The menorah stands alongside a lighted Christmas-tree sculpture, just as it did when the displays were a holiday fixture at a Westinghouse site along the Parkway East in Allegheny County.
“I loved them. It was awesome,” Export resident Michele Nagoda recalled. She and her husband, John, purchased the pair of displays from a warehouse where they'd been stored and donated them to the borough, which refurbished them and installed them in the 14-acre park. Councilwoman Melanie Litz said the park also was donated, by late Murrysville resident and benefactor Joseph M. Hall Jr., who often dressed as Santa Claus.
“It's a fitting location,” Litz said. “It's the preservation of a local icon, a tradition we can continue to enjoy as a community.”
The menorah resumed its place alongside the tree during the 2016 holiday season.
This year, the lighting of a candle at sundown each day of Hanukkah, and saying of associated blessings, was organized by Steve Apter of Delmont. He operated a car lot in Export and used to live not far from the menorah's original home in Allegheny County.
“Hopefully, this is the beginning of a long-lasting tradition,” he said.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-836-6622 or email@example.com.