Sunday, December 13, 2009

Green Your Hanukkah!

Being half Jewish (and not a very good half Jew at that), I'm prone to forgetting significant Jewish holidays.  This year, Hanukkah really crept up on me.  I honestly didn't even think to look at the calendar until I was unpacking the Christmas decorations on Thursday (yes, ironic, I know), saw the menorah, and thought, "Oh, hey, when does that thing start?"  The answer: Friday night.

Friday was a busy day for me, and I was out and about until after sundown anyway, so I blew the first night.  As the second night approached, a half-joking thought crossed my mind: "I wonder if there's an app for that?"  And I'll be damned if there isn't.

Image snagged from

iMenorah, for the Jew on the go (their real slogan is "For the Jew far from home!" but I like my version better).  I downloaded it and was able to light the menorah while Mr. L and I were out to dinner on Saturday night.  It was great!  You tap to light the shamash, then light the other candles from left to right.  After you light them, some random voice recites the prayer aloud, and the candles slowly burn down over the next few minutes.  Genius!

This image also snagged from

But being half Jewish, I still have some guilt about not actually lighting the menorah at home.  So I'm going to rationalize it in a couple ways.  First, they donate 10% of the proceeds to a San Francisco charity (the app costs $2.99).  Second, it's more sustainable, right?  Conventional candles are often made with petroleum products, and more petroleum products are used to transport them to the store and then back home to my house.  Plus, when you burn them they emit all sorts of nasties, I'm sure.  But this app is the totally green alternative!  Minimal inputs, no transportation costs, no indoor air pollution from the burning.  It's great!

Now, I won't get too smug about how charitable and green my new Hanukkah ritual is.  But I will tell you this: while iMenorah does make Hanukkah a bit more fun for me (using it made me giddy) and might actually be greener and all that, it just didn't feel quite the same.  Next year, I might try sourcing some locally produced soy Hanukkah candles and see how that feels in comparison - perhaps it will make me even more smug?


  1. Lovely. Quite simply, a fabulous post.

  2. There really is an app for everything. But do you ever put your iphone up in the window like a real menorah? I guess it'd be even more sustainable if you could charge your iphone with solar power. Oh well... next year.

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