(September 15, 2013 / JNS)
By Diana Burmistrovich/JNS.org
The menorah forever commemorates the eight-day stretch of Jewish history during which one day’s worth of oil gave the kohanim of the Jewish Temple eight, blessed days filled with light. But dating back to the first Hanukkah, celebrated by our ancestors in 165 B.C.E., the seven-candle menorah has come a long way.
For the modern holiday of Hanukkah, the menorah—or more specifically, its eight-candle iteration, the Hanukkiah—has come to reflect whoever owns it, with all sorts of funky, crazy, and beautiful versions presenting contemporary ways to memorialize God’s miracle. JNS.org presents some of the most unique present-day menorahs:
Art Lovers will glow over these contemporary menorahs that double as pieces of fine art. Creations like these are easy to keep around the house as regular sculptures during the year. Focus the festive energy of the holiday season on the color schemes of these menorahs, to provide a modern ambiance.
This beautiful Gary Rosenthal piece will pique the interests of anyone loving an industrial look. Made of embossed copper, steel, brass, and crackled-glass, this menorah incorporates items found at a typical warehouse. The pop of color adds excitement to an otherwise gritty demeanor.
Paying homage to centuries past is nothing new: Art, architecture, and fashion use history as a jumping-off point to create a fresh take on an old idea. This vintage brass menorah from the Eames Era takes cues from the monolithic, crude style of Brutalist art to stylishly update what resembles the Temple’s original menorah.
Traditionalists will appreciate the masterful nod to other important Hanukkah symbols with these menorahs. Even if your version of Hanukkah is merely a time to give and receive gifts, these menorahs are a perfect way to bring back the true meaning of what the holiday celebrates.
The Hanukkah story tells that there was only enough olive oil left to fuel the eternal flame in the Temple for one day. Miraculously, the oil lasted eight days, which was enough time to make new pure oil. This hand-painted glass menorah is a perfect way to celebrate God’s miracle.
Juxtaposing Greek-style art—to symbolize the perseverance of the Jewish people under Greek rule— with fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls makes this menorah as much a history lesson as a holiday staple.
The menorah has been a symbol of the Jewish people since ancient times so incorporating the second most important Jewish symbol is all too fitting. This black-and-white stained glass leaves no doubt that you are proud of who you are and where you came from.
Hipsters and hobbyists can incorporate favorite activities into their holiday celebrations with these DIY (do-it-yourself) creations made by local artists. These menorahs add a fun touch and a talking point perfect for youthful, creative types.
Sleek and stylish, this menorah repurposes the metal handlebar from a bicycle with its cog as the centerpiece. Bikers, rest assured that this piece is handcrafted with heavy-duty goodness—just don’t forget to take the candles out before going out for a ride.
No one really knows where the moustache obsession came from, but needless to say, love for those fine hairs is probably as old as the first Hanukkiah! Ride the moustache love all the way through your holiday season with this laser-cut wooden menorah, fit for anyone feeling funky.
This stained glass menorah is too beautiful to bounce. Perfect for the sports lover in the family, this menorah is a must-have for any self-proclaimed basketball addict.
Travelers will love these mini-menorahs that they can use if they happen to be abroad during the holiday season. Toss these in your pocket with a box of matches, and you have a makeshift celebration anywhere you decide to post them up!
The aluminum base and anodized aluminum make it easy to throw this palm-sized menorah into any traveling bag for your trip. With a bright, festive, stained-glass look, the menorah can cheer up even the glummest holiday traveling experience.
This is a bonus mini-moustache menorah from the same creator that brought you its big brother, the menorah moustache. This little guy is as small as a matchbook—which is perfect, because those are the “candles” that are meant to be used. Those worried about its wooden composition need not fear: the laser-cut edges of the wood make it hard to burn, and the matches tend to burn out before they reach the bottom.