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Where art meets light

By JUDY STARK
Published December 24, 2005


photo
[Times photo: Patty Yablonski]
Make your own menorah: 8-inch mirror tiles ($4.99 each) reflect the candlelight from votives lighted by a central pillar candle ($6.99).

  photo
[Times photo: Patty Yablonski]
Tree of Life folk art menorah is $395 at Shapiro’s at BayWalk, 185 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg.
[Jewish Museum, New York City]
Hand-sculpted, oxidized bronze menorah in the shape of an olive branch, by Michael Aram, is a symbol of peace and harmony. It’s $145 at the Jewish Museum Shops in New York City, (212) 423-3211, or www.thejewishmuseum.org.

This year, the day Christians celebrate Christmas is also the day Jews begin the eight-day celebration of the Festival of Lights. At sundown Sunday, the first of eight candles on a menorah will be lighted by the shamash, or servant candle, which stands apart from the other eight. Another candle is lit on each succeeding night.

Hanukkah commemorates the military victory of the Jews, 23 centuries ago, over their Syrian-Greek oppressors, who had defiled the Temple in Jerusalem. The Jews, seeking to cleanse and rededicate the Temple, found only enough pure oil to burn for one night. Miraculously it lasted for eight nights, until they could obtain a new supply of sacramental oil.

Thus the holiday celebrates the victory of light over darkness and the survival of Judaism. Hanukkah is the Hebrew term for dedication.

Menorahs range from works of art to whimsical decorative objects worthy of display year-round. On this day before the holiday begins, there's still time to create your own.

[Last modified December 23, 2005, 09:59:07]


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