Thirteen years ago, Arielle Teitelbaum had a bright idea.
Just two years old at the time, she delighted at the colorful Christmas lights she saw in and around Mill Basin during the holiday season. Why couldn’t her house be similarly decorated?
Her father, Daniel Teitelbaum, had an epiphany: He decided there was no reason why Chanukah decorations couldn’t be equally as ornate.“The reality is, Chanukah is the festival of lights, so what makes it wrong?,” he recalled. “The whole mitzvah of Chanukah is to announce to the world that the miracle happened — I’m just doing it a little more modern.”
Over the years, Teitelbaum, an Orthodox Jew and officer with the United States Customs and Border Protection, added to the decorations that now make his home a borough-wide attraction.
Chanukah decorations generally consist of a menorah, or candelabrum, placed beside a window. Rarely do homes approach the illuminated artistry of the Teitelbaum’s home, 6222 Avenue T.Since the decorations are not as widely available as Christmas decorations, Teitelbaum had to be resourceful. A neighbor helped him hone his woodworking, and Teitelbaum built most of the decorations himself.
Last year, the display took on a somber note, dedicated to Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka Holtzberg, and all the other victims of the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
The house has since been recognized by Borough President Marty Markowitz, who declared it “the official Brooklyn Chanukah House.”
And it seems Teitelbaum might be a trendsetter. “When I first moved here, I didn’t see much in terms of menorah’s in the window, but now, I see all kinds of stuff in windows,” he observed. “Maybe it’s just a little more Jewish pride.”