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Fun places to shop for Hanukkah on Long Island

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'O Hanukkah o Hanukkah, come light the menorah" - the one that looks like a striped purple cat made out of tin ...

Um, isn't the holiday a bit more serious? Celebrating the Maccabees' successful rebellion against the Greeks in the 2nd century BCE, followed by the miracle of holy oil that lasted eight days rather than one?

Well, since Hanukkah isn't in the Bible, no one takes off from work, or fasts (they'd miss potato latkes if they did). And families celebrate it at home, usually not at shul.

With fun stuff...

CHAI & MAZEL: 1143 Jericho Tpke., Commack, 631-543-6016

This is the home of the amusing striped purple cat menorah ($40) - not to mention a dog with big floppy ears.

Chai & Mazel has a nice selection of kids' menorahs, as well as silver or blue plastic electric menorahs for the window ($30) are walking out the store, according to owner Brocha Teldon.

You can even combine your Hanukkah celebration with a little patriotism - pick up a red, white and blue glass menorah ($114.50).

JUDAICA OF GREAT NECK: 107 Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck, 516-482-4729,

This story carries a large selection of menorahs, from $35 to $2,500 - made by Israeli artists such as Anat Mayer, who works with glass and Swarovski crystals.

There are menorahs made of Jerusalem stone, combined with glass or metal, and sterling silver ones, too, says manager Yossi Gurevitch. Mezuzahs are also popular gifts, he says. "It's not only Hanukkah items; it's a gift season," he says.

JUDAICA PLUS: 530 Central Ave., Cedarhurst, 516-295-4343

Owners David Hertz and Michael Reich offer 6,500 square feet of Judaica, including a Hanukkah store within the store.

While you can spend up to $400 on a menorah, there are plenty of bargains - from nuts-free, dark-chocolate gelt for allergy sufferers (45 cents a bag) to a make-your-own-candles kit with beeswax ($11.95) to zillions of books, games, craft projects, CDs and DVDs.

YUSSEL'S PLACE: 59 Merrick Ave., Merrick, 516-223-7050,

Well, even though "Yussel" founded the store, he was only there nine months - but check out owners Michael and Debbie Freiser's Web site to see a dog decked out for Hanukkah.

Yussel's features hand-dipped, dripless ("they drip less," Michael Freiser says, not necessarily not at all) candles from Safed for $8-$12, as well as prefilled oil cups for more traditional oil menorahs. They carry "hundreds and hundreds of collectible dreidels" that can go up to $150 - definitely not the kind you'd let the kids play with on the floor.

ZION LION: 1616 Marcus Ave., New Hyde Park, 516-437-5466; 444 Jericho Tpke., Huntington, 631-549-5155,

"There's almost been an explosion of Judaica recently," says owner Gloria Yellin, who opened the Huntington store in 1981 and the New Hyde Park store in 1987. "So, in every medium, you can find magnificent menorahs that you can pass down to your children."

And, speaking of your children: Does your teenage daughter like shopping? There's a shoe menorah for her. Ballet? Fire engines? Dinosaurs? Karate?

Not to mention the blowup decorations for the lawn - which take the mitzvah (commandment) of pirsumei nissa - publicizing the miracle - quite literally.


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