Glenn Cohn says he does it for the kids, but the Fresh Meadows homeowner seems to get as much from his holiday decorations as the youngsters who visit.
But don’t expect to see candy canes, Santa Clauses or even snowmen at 69-29 172 St. Cohn is Jewish and his displays run to flashing dreidels and inflatable menorahs. “I’ve been doing it for five years and kids love it,” he said. “Cars are always stopping.”
Although outdoor Hanukkah decorations are fairly unusual, Cohn said there are specialty stores that have what he needs. This year, he has eight inflatables, including a snow globe, a dreidel with a gift box, a six-foot and an 11-foot teddy bear with dreidels and three menorahs.
At the Fresh Meadows house, there are flashing lights spelling out “Happy Hanukkah,” a flashing dreidel and menorahs in the windows. Cohn said he does not put up the display to compete with Christian holiday decorations, but rather “I’m just doing my own thing and publicizing the miracle of Hanukkah,” he added.
A dreidel is a wooden top played with during the eight-day holiday. A menorah is a candelabra that holds nine candles — eight for each night of the holiday and one to light the others. It commemorates the Jewish Maccabees reclaiming the Holy Temple in Jerusalem from the ancient Greeks.
When the Maccabees entered the temple, there was just enough sacred oil to last one day, but this time it burned for eight.
Cohn is the father of four and grandfather to one and works as a food broker. His wife and youngest daughter, 11, both enjoy the display. It takes him about four hours to erect everything and has no idea if his electric bill goes up. That is not a concern.
“I put it up after Thanksgiving and take it down four weeks later,” he said.
This year, Hanukkah began on Dec. 11. It is customary to exchange gifts, including Hanukkah gelt (coins) and to eat fried foods like potato pancakes and jelly doughnuts during the holiday.