Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Monday, December 08, 2008

Hanukiyot: Pt 1

I've been collecting photos of beautiful hanukiyot for months now. Because I've collected so many different designs, over 50 in fact, I can't possibly present them all in one post. So I'm dividing them up into several posts so you can enjoy each design without feeling overwhelmed.

Many of these hanukiyot are hand crafted by artists from Israel, the USA, Canada, and other countries. They are often very modern looking. While I tried hard to only include Kosher hanukiyot, there are a few that are not, and they will be marked as such.

Before I show you the first batch, let's have a short tutorial about Hanukah.

What makes a Kosher hanukiyot? All of the candles must be on the same level except the shamash, which is of course higher. If the candles are uneven, this is not a Kosher hanukiyot. While that doesn't matter some some people, it does to others.

Why am I calling these menorahs hanukiyot? Because a menorah is a branched candelabra with 6 arms. A hanukiyot has 8 arms for the 8 days of Hanukah, and a Shamash (helper candle) you use to light the other candles. Many people tend to use the term menorah for both, but technically that isn't correct. A hanukiah is used only for Hanukah.

How do I light the hanukiyot? Starting on the first night of Hanukah, a single candle and the Shamash are placed on the right side of the hanukiyot. You light the shamash with a match, and then use that to light the first night candle. For each subsequent night you add one candle, from the right, and you light them with the shamash from the left. The last night, all of the candles are lit.

How many hanukiyot are needed in a home? In a Jewish home, only one is technically needed, but most families have more than one. It's a tradition for each child in the home to have their own hanukiyot, and in many homes, as the kids age, their kiddie hanukiyot are replaced with more grown up models. But only one is needed.

Are prayers said every night? On the first night, there are three separate prayers that are said. Each subsequent night, there are two prayers said. They are the same prayers every night.

What other customs are done on Hanukah? We eat fried foods to represent the miracle of the oil that lasted 8 days. The two foods that are eaten on Hanukah are latkes, fried potato pancakes. They are eaten with sour cream and apple sauce. This is more of an Ashkenazi or eastern European custom. The other food are sufganiyot or jelly donuts. This is an Israeli custom that has become popular in Jewish communities in the USA and Canada.

We also play sivivon, or dreidel. Dreidel is the Yiddish name, sivivon is the Hebrew name for the 4 sided top that we use to play a gambling game, mostly using chocolate coins called Gelt for our bets.

What about presents? In many households, Hanukah isn't about exchanging gifts. In fact, the whole gift thing is very modern and was created as a way for Jewish families to assimilate into American culture. For some families, small gifts are given every night of Hanukah. For other families one night is devoted to gift giving. For still others, no gifts are exchanged at all. Every family has their own minhag (custom).

Is that all there is? Yup, pretty much. Some families decorate for Hanukah. When my kids were little, I did that as well. Most don't. Hanukah is a very minor Jewish holiday. Our major holidays are in the fall and spring.

OK, on with the show.

This is not a Kosher hanukiot, but it sure is cute.

This isn't Kosher, but I really love the look. I'd use this just as a decorative hanukiyot because it's so unusual.

Doesn't this look like a walking boat?

This one is so unusual and so lovely I'd almost be afraid to use it. It's to be used with oil, not candles.
The tree of life has never been so colorful.
This is a Gary Rosenthal design, but it's not Kosher. I'm not a huge fan of his work, but so many people love it that I put in a couple to represent him. He works in copper, brass and glass.
These aluminum stackable hanukiyot come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. They're great for traveling and really easy to store.

I love this one. It's modern, it's beautiful and shiny, and it's just my style. My only problem is that the Shamash isn't raised.

This is totally not me, but I know someone who has one very like this and adores it. This one was from an etsy shop.

Another tree of life? Nope, it's grape leaves on the vine. Copper leaves hold small oil pots.

Yes, it's a VW Bug, and I've been so tempted to buy this about a million times. Hanukiyot don't have to be works of art. They can be funny or whimsical, too. This one just touches the 1960's hippie in me.

Such a pretty copper tree of life, however, this one is not Kosher.

This is another one that I just love. Polished aluminum with a spiral cut out. Sleek and modern.

This is a lovely design that looks very Egyptian to me. Love the birds.

Ok, that's it for today. Stay tuned for more! In the meantime, which one do you like best so far?

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Blogger Robin said...

Beautiful, especially the spiral and the stackable ones (how great for traveling would that one be!).

Thanks for sharing.

8/12/08 4:36 PM  
Blogger Daisy said...

The glass one with the oil cups is gorgeous.

8/12/08 6:48 PM  
Blogger shiny said...

I'm another fan of the spiral chanukiyah. Although it's nice to see all of them. :)

8/12/08 11:25 PM  

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