Image via Jonathan Adler
Tonight marks the beginning of Hanukkah, and for eight nights, Jews will be celebrating by lighting menorahs of all shapes and sizes in their homes, as well as in public spaces throughout New York.
While Hanukkah might not traditionally be thought of as a design-oriented holiday, in recent years menorahs have become more and more creative and diverse. From contemporary interpretations to dinosaur versions to express your inner paleontologist, there is a menorah out there for everyone. We put together a list of some of our favorites that you can buy, in addition to three must-view menorahs in New York City.
6sqft design favorites
For those looking to infuse a bit of patriotism into their holiday, the Statue of Liberty Menorah by Acme Animal is available at the Jewish Museum gift shop. Made of hand-painted cut-metal shapes, this folksy menorah is full of character and has Lady Liberty wearing a trendy red heel. The statue appears windswept with the candleholders on the back of her gown.
The Shadow Hanukkah Lamp from Barbara Shaw Gifts is made with laser-cut acrylic and will provide quite an illusion to marvel at over the holiday’s eight nights–a menorah that takes a creative approach to light and shadows makes sense given that Hanukkah is the festival of lights.
According to Jewish tradition, the original temple menorah was made of gold almond blossom-shaped cups, and the Water Blossom Menorah by Amy Reichert is a tranquil, modern take on this design. Made with brushed hand-finished brass, the floating almond blossom candle holders reflect in the pool of water, creating a menorah that is modern, elegant, and can also serve as a centerpiece.
Michael Aram designs menorahs that merge the traditional with elements of modernity. His Rock Menorah is a nod to rock-and-roll glam, Cubism, and Art Deco, and it would be well-paired with a few pieces of gelt (chocolate coins) in their gold wrappings.
Travel Magnetic Menorah (L); Glow Stick Menorah (R)
For those who’ll be on the road this holiday, Modern Tribe offers a Travel Magnetic Menorah. This portable magnetic menorah by Laura Cowan stacks up into two test tubes and a black velvet travel bag. Once unpacked, it holds endless design possibilities, from a traditional straight line to a circular version. And for college students celebrating in dorms where candles are prohibited, Modern Tribe offers the Glow Stick Menorah by Decor Craft. The glow sticks serve as candles in this acrylic menorah that is sure to be popular with roommates this Hanukkah (and during that trip to the club).
Everyone’s favorite cheeky designer Jonathan Adler designs menorahs with the animal lover in mind. The collection includes a Brass Bird, Ceramic Elephant, and Ceramic Dachshund. For Adler fans looking to go a little more colorful and geometric, there’s the Bel Air Menorah, a modern Lucite design. Like everything Adler, these menorahs are streamlined and chic.
And as promised, here’s a dinosaur menorah for all the paleontologists out there. It’s called the Menorahsaurus and is available on Etsy.
Where to see menorahs around NYC
If you’re already set with your own personal lights, you can still check out one of these cool, oversized menorahs around New York.
Grand Army Plaza in Manhattan via City Pass
In a city where the sky is the limit, it makes sense that we have two menorahs vying for the title of world’s largest. The first contender is the 33.5-foot-tall menorah at Grand Army Plaza on Fifth Avenue and 59th Street. It’s made out of 4,000 pounds of steel and is certified in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest menorah. It will be lit each night at 6:00pm from December 6th to the 13th.
Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn via Chabad of Brooklyn
Over in Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza (what a coincidence), is the other huge menorah, which requires a cherry picker to be lit. The Chabad of Park Slope claims that it’s actually six inches taller than its Manhattan counterpart when the center bulb is added. This menorah will be lit each night at 6:00pm from December 6th to the 13th. If you’re torn between the two record-setting menorahs, don’t fret; the rabbis in charge of both insist that there’s no competition and they are supporting each other.
Hanukkah Lamp: Miss Liberty, 1974; maker Mae Rockland Tupa; wood covered in fabric; plastic: molded. The Jewish Museum, New York: Gift of the artist, 1984-127a-b
There’s no reason the Hanukkah fun has to stop at the end of the eight crazy nights. Part of the Jewish Museum’s permanent collection, Culture and Continuity: The Jewish Journey, includes over 50 Hanukkah lamps from around the world including the Czech Republic, Greece, Israel, Morocco, and Peru. One lamp in particular caught our attention. Made out of souvenirs, “Hanukkah Lamp: Miss Liberty” is another nod to the Statue of Liberty. There’s also a design by architect Frank Gehry.
Have your own favorite menorah design or location? Share it with us in the comments.
- Sukkot Architecture: New York City’s Sukkahs Come in All Shapes, Sizes, and Locations
- Walk This Way: How Observant Jews Shop for Real Estate with the Torah in Mind
- Mapping the Evolution of the Lower East Side Through a Jewish Lens, 1880-2014