Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Chanukah

My mom passed away on the 7th ("zayin") of Kislev 5770 (November 23, 2009). Hence, the name of this blog.

Many things have occurred to me in the nearly three weeks since mom died. I hope to write about many of them and many other things.

My mom died right before Thanksgiving. It was a difficult and problematic shiva (a week-long mourning ritual in Judaism), in part because I was away from home and people could not visit due to the difficulty of traveling in the U.S. around the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. But because of many other things as well. I will write about that. It has been difficult and problematic sheloshim (the thirty day period after burial). I will write about that as well.

In the Jewish religion, the month of Kislev is supposed to be a happy time, because Chanukah is in the month of Kislev. For obvious reasons, I am not particularly happy this Chanukah.

Nevertheless, there are things I must do on Chanukah, including lighting Chanukah lights (be they candles, an oil burning menorah, or light bulbs). Due to the nature of my job as an environmental consultant, I must travel to see clients and client sites that, for one reason or another, may require my particular expertise.

For whatever reason, clients decided my services were urgently needed in Kislev. I have been to two solid waste disposal facilities and one petroleum refinery in Kislev. I will be at a hazardous waste facility and two more solid waste facilities in the month following Kislev (Tevet). (Today is the first of Tevet, so Chodesh tov!).

So I was on my way driving home from a landfill in Pennsylvania, about 5.5 hours from home, and got a call about a project in Tulsa. I had to be there during Chanukah. Which meant I had to light candles there. I did not want to lug around one of my home menorahs and did not have time to look for a small cheap menorah. Fortunately, I had lots of ingredients to make my own. So I did.

Here's the recipe.

Ingredients: 8- .45ACP spent shell casings, 1- .44 special spent shell casing (I had .45 Colt and .454 Casull shells but the .44  looked better) , 9- ¾” wood screws, 1-8” piece of 1x2

1. Poke out the primers with a punch or small nail;
2. Drill out the primer pockets to accommodate the screws;
3. Mark 9 evenly spaced holes for the shell casings;
4. Attach the shell casings.

Uses standard small Hanukah menorah candles.

Keep away from the motel smoke detector!

In subsequent posts I will explain how it is that I have spent shell casings in many assorted calibers.

Kol tuv.


  1. Itzik Hoffman says everybody makes chanukiyot like this when they're in the Israeli army.

    It looks very similar to the chanukiya that Eliana made in preschool.

    How loong did it take you to make?

  2. It is indeed an honor to be linked to both the IDF and my sabra granddaughter in the same comment.

  3. BTW, it took about an hour from the time the components were gathered. The most time consuming part was drilling out the flash holes, since I did not have a good way to hold the shells. The shell holders for my reloading press won't keep the shell from spinning.