Two of Beth Emeth’s young members, Rebecca, and Warren Albright, pose with the giant Mitzvah Menorah in 2018. The social action committee’s project featuring gift-request candles that may be plucked from the menorah and actualized by generous donors is back to encourage giving through Dec. 17.

ALBANY–Chanukah means dedication, and it is also a celebration of light. So, in keeping with the spirit of the holiday, the social action committee of Congregation Beth Emeth is once more hoping to spread light in the Capital Region, according to organizers.
After last year’s “virtual” effort, this year the Mitzvah Menorah is back in the main lobby of Beth Emeth, On each branch of the wood chanukiyah are gift requests —paper candles — for those in need in the community. Participants pick a candle, purchase the items, then bring them unwrapped to place in the bin in the temple’s lobby by Dec. 17. “This year, we are very excited to get back to our in-person Mitzvah Menorah,” said Liz Albright, chairwoman of the project. “The menorah will be in the lobby during Friday night services and our Chanukah service as well as out front during pick-up and drop-off times for religious school so that families can choose a ‘candle’ together.”

The gifts will go to Northern Rivers (formally Parsons), Equinox or Refugee & Immigrant Support Services of Emmaus.
According to Albright, last year, because of COVID-19 “we had people donate through the CBE website and with the donations, the social action group bought gift cards for Northern Rivers, Equinox (for the domestic violence shelter) and Mary’s Corner. The team also used the funds to purchase reusable bags filled with toiletries and cleaning supplies not covered by food stamps for adult refugees at RISSE.