Spelling out the word "Chanukah" in brightly colored letters, this children's menorah hints at the whimsy that filtered into the American celebration of the Jewish holiday toward the end of the 20th century. As Chanukah became more of a family celebration, menorahs - such as this one, made specifically for children - gained greater attention. While not the most important Jewish holiday, Chanukah is likely the most well-known Jewish holiday in America. As Christmas became increasingly commercial and dominated the December cultural landscape, Chanukah took on significance as a Jewish alternative to the American Christian custom. The eight-day celebration became a refuge and reminder of one's Jewish identity at a time when most Americans seemed to revel in the Christmas season. The holiday commemorates the victory of the Jews, led by the Maccabees, over Greek persecution and religious oppression. The menorah recalls the small flask of oil that burned throughout the eight-day rededication of the Jewish Temple at Jerusalem after the Maccabees' victory. Every menorah holds nine candles: one for each of the eight days commemorated, and one (the shammes) used to light the others.

Show lessRead more
  • Title: Menorah
  • Date Created: 2001
  • Location: USA
  • Subject Keywords: Chanukah
  • Type: Holidays and Celebrations
  • Medium: glazed earthenware
  • Object ID: 101.876