Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Winter Wednesday-The Festival of Lights

Winter is here.  It is 26 degrees but feeling very bitter - wind chill of 9 above.  It's supposed to get down to 18 tonight with some snow flurries.  That's normal weather, here in upstate NY, but after our warmer than normal extended fall, it's a shock.

Another sign of winter- the holidays of Christmas and Hanukkah.  I've been blogging the last couple of days about my recent visit to the Hanukkah House museum in Binghamton (now closed until next November) and I wanted to share, for Winter Wednesday, some of their display of menorahs.

The menorah is a 9 branched candelabrum - 8 candles for the 8 nights of Hanukkah and 1 candle, the shamash ("helper") which is used to light the other candles.
Menorahs can be, and are, works of art.  If the only menorah you've ever seen is the one at the local shopping center (to balance out the Christmas display) prepare for a treat.

Menorahs can come in all sizes (such as the dollhouse-sized one in the center).  The one out in front uses houses as the candleholders.  Some of these are "children's" memorahs - brightly colored.  In many Jewish families, each family member will have his or her own menorah to light.
On this menorah, mounted on a "wall", are pots.
The original Hanukkah miracle involved oil (not candles) and not all Jews use candles in their menorahs.  Some use oil.
Materials vary:  metal, ceramic, glass.

The candles themselves can be works of art:  multicolored, striped, beeswax, or hand dipped.
And, what can be more multicultural than this last picture, taken in a private house near New York City.  This person is not Jewish but many of her friends are, and she holds a Hanukkah luncheon each year for her friends.

And isn't that what our country is all about - respect for the faiths of others.

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