The menorah is easily among the most recognized ritual objects in a Jewish home.
Technically, a menorah, considered the oldest symbol of the Jewish religion, is a seven-branch candelabrum, like the one that appears on the emblem of Israel.
The nine-branch version lit to celebrate the eight days of Hanukkah (the ninth branch in the center holds the servant candle used to light the others), is called a Chanukiah.
Today, the lines have blurred, and the term menorah has pretty much been accepted for both types.
While there’s a modicum of wiggle room when it comes the name, there’s an infinite chasm in terms of design and materials for the elegant, quirky and glamorous menorahs used to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights.
One of the most unusual and touching examples comes from blacksmith and Israeli artist Yaron Bob, who takes spent rockets that have touched down in Israel and transforms them into menorahs. The poignant sentiment behind the rocket menorah ($1,799) is turning “terror into light.” Available through rocketsintoroses.com.
Not all menorahs fashioned from recycled materials have such somber beginnings. A free-form bicycle chain menorah ($29) comes from a fair trade cooperative in India. It’s available at Modern Tribe, 171 Auburn Ave. N.E., Suite G, Atlanta. moderntribe.com.
Traditional and bold, contemporary lines merge dramatically with metal artist Michael Aram’s rock menorah ($179), which is inspired by jagged stone formations as seen through the combined lenses of rock ’n’ roll, glam, cubism and art deco. Available at Neiman Marcus, 3393 Peachtree Road, Atlanta.
If you think that menorahs can’t be frivolous and joyous, you haven’t seen the VW Bus Wheeling Groovy menorah ($55). Made of enameled metal and painted a denim blue with brightly colored flowers scattered about, it is available at Modern Tribe. moderntribe.com.
The traditional Tree of Life gets elegant treatment from Michael Aram with a nickel plate and stainless steel menorah ($159) from his Dream collection. Glistening textured branches and leaves make for a festive Hanukkah addition. Available at Bloomingdale’s Lenox Square, 3393 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta.
Bohemian and eye-popping, the whimsical Lalo Treasures menorah ($98) by Israeli designer Orna Lalo will not be ignored. Hand-crafted from resin in a Bulgarian fair trade women’s work group, this lipstick-red menorah comes adorned with Swarovski crystals, silver and brass. Available at Modern Tribe. moderntribe.com.
Judaica artist Melanie Dankowicz creates dreamy compositions from intricately laser-cut metals. A perfect blend of art and function, her graceful open-swirled menorah ($245) is composed of thick 12-guage stainless steel, then is glass-blasted for a silky finish. Available at Modern Tribe. moderntribe.com.
Children can participate in Hanukkah with their own special menorahs like the vividly painted Noah’s Ark by Rite Lite ($30). Made of ceramic, the playful ark comes decorated with a colorful cast of characters that includes zebras, lions, tigers and monkeys. Available at Modern Tribe. moderntribe.com.
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