Hebrew for ‘lamp’, Menorahs are dusted off in Jewish households every year for Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. A symbol of what many refer to as ‘Jewish Christmas’, a Menorah or Chanukiah is a candelabrum characterised by nine branches, each of which is lit during the eight-day holiday.
Menorahs are commonly passed down through generations, which means they typically possess an ornate aesthetic in a shiny gold or silver finish that sticks out like a sore thumb in my minimal home during the festive season.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the traditional look and what it means to keep a piece of my family’s history, but in 2020, I’m looking to add a more sophisticated piece to my holiday decor rotation. Something that works with, and not against, my interior themes.
Now, shopping for Jewish objects known as Judaica can be a challenge. There’s not a whole lot on the market, and what limited stock does exist on shelves carries the same traditional and ornamental vibes that are at odds not only with my home, but many other homes out there.
And so, in case anyone else happened to be in the market for a chic new Menorah, I thought I’d collate the top five Chanukiahs to buy right now.
Founded by publicist Dana Hollar Schwartz and designer Jamie Wolfond, Via Maris is a new label producing modern Judaica with a focus on beautiful, functional design. The Trace Chanukiah from the New York label is the most traditional of silhouettes, though uses a matte-finish steel in its construction.
It’s available in five shades: Navy, terracotta, off white, yellow, and charcoal grey, and the brand also produces candles in the exact same hues for a seamless and cohesive look. Buy it now for US $155 (AU $221).
Weighing almost two kilograms, the Block Chanukiah from Via Maris is certainly the most modern of its chic silhouettes but makes for a sleek and practical statement piece atop any Hanukkah table.
Made from solid aluminium, the easy-to-clean candleholder lifts to reveal a hollow compartment for storing up to 44 candles — more than enough to get through the eight nights of Hanukkah. It’s available now in brushed or polished aluminium, terracotta or navy. Get it now for US $225 (AU $320).
While worth a small fortune, the Brass Menorah from San Francisco label March is worth an honourable mention for its timeless look and adaptable design. Year-round, the glamorous candle holders can be used on their own, but come Hanukkah, the set can be configured in its tray for the eight-night holiday.
Made in the US from brass, the candle holder will take on a patina over time for an even more special look. Available now for US $2,500 (AU $3,567).
Josh Owen’s Menorah for Areaware is both simple and ceremonial. Permanently on display at The National Museum of American Jewish History, the sculptural piece is made from solid blackened cast iron, with a nifty base tray for catching wax drops and matches. Available now for US $125 (AU $178.50).
Handmade in Israel, the Armadillo Menorah is a ceramic piece finished with a transparent glaze. The ‘wavy’ design pays tribute to more traditional Menorahs and takes inspiration from folded paper. The final result is a solid yet delicate decor item that could happily sit on display year-round. Get it now on Etsy for AU $280.
In case you run into any shipping issues when trying to order from global brands, take note of our tips. While some of the stores mentioned above do not ship directly to Australia, you can still get your hands on overseas products through the Australia Post ShopMate service.
You sign up to ShopMate and you’re given a ShopMate U.S address, which you pop in as the delivery address on your order. Then, your order will be delivered to the U.S warehouse and processed before being sent on to you in Australia. While it is a handy service, it can come with a notable price tag. ShopMate charges a $25.25 shipping base rate per parcel plus $5.45 weight rate per 500g.