A Tel Aviv LEGO store has secured what is believed to be the largest-ever LEGO menorah.
Located in the Dizengoff Center, LEGO Store Tel Aviv in July became the first official LEGO store to open in Israel. The store commissioned expert LEGO artist Yitzchok Kasowitz—who lives in North Miami Beach, Fla., and is the founder of Jbrick, a company that sells Jewish-themed LEGO items—to design the menorah.
Kasowitz had contacted the owner of the Israeli store, expressing his desire to collaborate on a future project. But he didn’t imagine it would be something this big.
“It’s kind of unheard of,” Kasowtiz, 45, told JNS. “I was thrilled to do it. There were difficulties along the way. We knocked it out in basically three days and it took a month to go back and forth with LEGO in getting the right pieces for my design. It’s between 131,000 and 136,000 bricks. I provided them with instructions, but in the end, I told them I’d be really excited to come to Israel and help build it. It’s massive. I explained that for safety reasons, it has to be done right…They said, ‘No problem.’”
Kasowitz, who was trained by a master LEGO builder for five years, said the height was about 4.52 meters (14.8 feet) with a width of 4.7 meters (15.5 feet).
He said that while they still have to wait for the Guiness Book of World Records, he is certain it will be.
“It’s not about breaking records, it’s about making records,” Kasowitz said.
His love for LEGO started when he was 4-years-old. He is the son of shluchim (emissaries) of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in Des Moines, Iowa, across from Drake College. He said that his brother, for his upsherin (first haircut at age 3), received a LEGO toy—and so did Kasowitz and his sister, so they would not become jealous. Kasowitz got a red fire truck.
“I’ll never forget it,” Kasowitz said. “I ran upstairs on the spot and challenged myself not to look at the instructions if I didn’t have to and have been challenging myself to build stiff ever since.”
Born in Brooklyn, Kasowitz, who has lived in Minnesota, proceeded to hone his LEGO art skills as the years went on.
Kasowitz sells his Jewish-themed LEGO creations, including mezuzah cases, tzedakah boxes, chamsas and more.
Now, with Kasowitz’s creation in hand, the Tel Aviv store is applying to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest LEGO brick menorah.
“Growing up, I didn’t have the opportunity to have Jewish LEGO, and thankfully Hashem gave me the talent and ability to make them for others,” Kasowitz said.