There are some key items known as judaica that tradition and ritual call for during Hanukkah — and we see these treasures as an opportunity to add style to your Hanukkah celebration. We asked Andrew Fish of Gallery Judaica in Los Angeles to walk us through the best in Hanukkah judaica with a focus on the mind-blowing artistry of modern menorahs. If you’re hosting this year, you’ll be glad we did.
Out With the Old
“In the last 30 years or so, there has been a renaissance in judaica in general.” Fish tells us. “There have been these wonderful artists who just decided they could do whatever they wanted with their own art style and sensibility and apply it to the old traditions. And the result is these incredible menorahs.” The old types of menorahs can have great meaning if they are passed down through generations, but if you’re going to have a group over to celebrate the holiday, “you might want to consider having a very nice menorah to gather around,” suggests Fish.
Metal sculptor Gary Rosenthal is one of the pioneers of the movement toward menorahs and other judaica as works of art. “He is definitely one of the reasons we have this explosion of form and color in judaica,” says Fish. His menorahs combine metals like copper, steel and brass with glass to an unbelievably innovative end, often weaving metals together. At first glance you wouldn’t recognize these fanciful pieces as menorahs. Another prominent metal menorah designer is Orit Grader who makes lace-like patterns in brass then uses patinas and paints as overlay.
Glass and Ceramic Menorahs
Another trend in menorahs is creating them out of glass that incorporates the actual shards from your broken wedding cup into the design. A company called Shardz is one of the most prominent — they also sell brightly colored wedding cups for breaking to add color to the menorah that will be made from the shards of glass. Famed designer Jonathan Adler uses ceramics for funky, fun menorah s such as his latest – a dachshund dog menorah. These pieces are so cool you won’t want to have them out just once a year.
Many companies such as ACME Animal make whimsical menorahs designed for children. They have motifs like Noah’s Ark and jungle animals that children adore. A special menorah like this can double as a first night Hanukkah present.
Hanukkah is a children’s holiday and as such you don’t want to forget the dreidels. A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top and comes in every imaginable color and material from wood to glass to plastic and even paper. You can use Hanukkah gelt – also known as chocolate coins – or pennies in the game.