Sunday, December 13, 2015

Hanukkah House Binghamton Part 1

Today, on the last day of Hanukkah (the Jewish "Festival of Lights"), I made my annual visit to Binghamton, New York's Hanukkah House museum.

Hanukkah House is a teaching museum inside of Temple Concord in Binghamton, in upstate New York, about 150 miles from New York City.   It exists to teach both the Jewish and non-Jewish community of Binghamton about Jewish culture, and more about the holiday of Hanukkah (there are several alternate spellings), which commemorates the rededication of the Temple in 165 BCE (Before the Common Era, which corresponds with the Christian BC, "before Christ") in our common Western calendar.

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, commemorates both the ending of a war for religious freedom and a miracle that occurred when the temple menorah was lit.  With only enough oil to last one day the menorah burned for eight days, until more oil could be located and brought to the Temple.

The museum features an exhibit of Hanukkiyah, the candelabras used in Jewish homes to hold Hanukkah candles.  (these are commonly called menorah, but a "menorah" is a specific type of lamp different than what the usual Jewish household would use.)

Some of the hanukkiyah in the museum are old, and beautifully decorated with religious symbols. (This one, also, instead of the nine candle holders normally found- one for each day of the miracle and a "helper candle" that is used to light the other candles) has 10.

Hanukkiyah don't have to be decorated with religious symbols.  Instead, especially for those used by children, they can be whimsical.

Or, they can commemorate, as this summer camp made menorah does.  This commemorates the New York City of pre-September 11, 2001.  (My finger blocked out the raised "helper candle" holder at the upper left.)

Later this month I will feature Part 2 of this year's post about Hanukkah House - a special collection by a special woman whose life (and death) holds much meaning for the future of our nation.


  1. Our community doesn't do anything other then Christian faith. But if I knew that Spokane was holding an Hanukkah celebration in a park. I would of gone.

  2. Lovely pictures. It was good to read more about Hanukkah. I have only recently started learning about this Jewish festival, and I find it fascinating to learn about customs and traditions across several cultures.

  3. Okay, I have heard of Hanukkah as a Jewish holiday but I honestly did not know the origin... and I think it is nice that the symbol of using candelabras helps maintain the tradition of sharing light. Thanks for this... The more you know :)

  4. Wow, if I ever get up to your neck of the woods, I will definitely go to this museum.

    Remember in 2013, how Hanukkah started on Thanksgiving Day? We had an interesting Hanukkiyah that year. A "menurkey", a menorah shaped like a turkey. My daughter insisted I buy one. You can see the picture of it on my blog. Here's the link:


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