Temple Isaiah planned to celebrate the first day of Hanukkah by firing up a solar-powered cooker to fry up a giant potato pancake on the first day of winter, when the high temperature should approach 70.
The Newport Beach Daily Pilot said the latke may be as long as three feet, and will not only be a possible entry for the Guinness Book of World Records, but will be a spiritual effort as well.
Rabbi Marc Rubenstein said the oil used in latkes represents the consecrated oil that was used in the Temple of Jerusalem, where a one-day supply miraculously lasted eight days during a seize in the Maccabean War.
As for the solar energy, "in Hebrew, the word for God is energy, and Hanukkah is a celebration of light," Rubenstein told the newspaper.
Temple Isaiah's first night of Hanukkah will not all be celebration this year, however. The woman who organized the solar latke project, Linda Small, died when her car was struck by a train last week, Rubenstein said. "I think she would have wanted the celebration to go on," he said.