On the way back to the Upper West Side from Florida on a family vacation last December, Asher Weintraub’s mother, Caroline, mentioned an upcoming anomaly she had just discovered on the Internet — Chanukah and Thanksgiving will coincide this year for the first time in history.
“Cool,” said Asher, a 9-year-old at P.S. 87 in Manhattan. “They’re two of my favorite holidays. There should be something to celebrate it.”
After tinkering on his computer and negotiating with his parents, Asher’s “something” turned into a Chanukah menorah in the shape of a turkey.
He calls his idea a “menurkey” (menurkey.com) and is trying to raise $25,000 on Kickstarter (kck.st/1d2vZrq) to produce several hundred to sell in time for the dual November holidays. The Kickstarter deadline is Sept. 12.
The fundraising campaign reached about 60 percent of its goal by early this week, and Anthony Weintraub, Asher’s father, says he is optimistic about raising the rest by next week.
After designing several 3-D models on a kid-friendly computer-design program, Asher submitted to manufacturers plans for two-such Thanksgiving menorahs — one ceramic, one plaster. The selling price is still to be determined.
His filmmaker parents, members of Congregation Rodeph Sholom, supported Asher’s idea.
His idea “has taken us down a road of 3D design and printing, ceramic molding and casting, and an endless stream of emails and calls with artisans, manufacturers and fulfillment,” the Kickstarter pitch states.
Asher “gets passionate about a lot of things,” Anthony Weintraub says. This time, his enthusiasm spread to his parents and to friends who heard about the idea. “There’s something about this hybridization of holidays,” two celebrations of religious freedom, which captured people’s interest.
If the Kickstarter campaign succeeds, production and promotion will start immediately. “The timing is very limited,” Weintraub says; Chanukah and Thanksgiving won’t overlap again until 2070.
If the menurkey sells, Asher says he will donate part of the proceeds to charity and put the rest into his college fund. He hopes to become a video-game designer.
This year, the family will be home for Chanukah and Thanksgiving before heading south again on their annual vacation.
This year, Anthony Weintraub says, they’ll celebrate Chanukah with a menorah that their son designed. “I’m sure of it.”