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2011 holiday guide: modern menorahs

by Grace Bonney

Every year when the Christmas decorations start to roll out in droves, I find myself overwhelmed with all the options. But when I talk to my Jewish friends, they often lament the lack of decoration options for Hanukkah. So this year I decided to turn on a marathon of The Big Bang Theory (Sheldon!) and hunt high and low for beautiful modern menorahs. Thankfully the options are much, much better than in years past (I remember looking for them in 2004 and coming up with maybe four or five), and I found a great range of options, from modern to traditional. I’ve included several high-end options for those of you looking to invest in something a bit fancier, but the majority are reasonably priced and will be wonderful to use for years to come. If you have any favorites (or DIY menorah ideas) that I missed, please feel free to share them in the comment section below. xo, grace

Image above, clockwise from top left: Teal Peacock Menorah, $125; Ascalon Menorah, $275; Capsule Menorah, $600; Relief Menorah, $98; Roost Modern Menorah, $52; Cast Iron Menorah, $150; Electric Menorah, $20; Concrete Menorah, $320; Golden Bouquet Menorah, $48

Image above, clockwise from top left: Manzanita Menorah, $29.99; Candle Blocks (come in small sizes with a set of 9 small candles to group as a menorah), $234; Cast Glass Menorah, $24.99; Matchstick Menorah, $240

Image above, clockwise from top left: Bold Menorah, $383; Stackable Travel Menorah, $125; Slide Magnetic Menorah, $24; Rainbow Cone Menorah, $225; Stanley Saitowitz Menorah, $395; Modern Iron Menorah, $115; Crystal Menorah, $129; Dachshund Menorah, $125; Olive Branch Menorah, $239

The full 50+ menorah roundup continues after the jump . . .

Image above, clockwise from top left: Enamel Menorah, $295; Pomegranate Menorah, $129; Utopia Menorah, $295; Keyboard Keys Menorah, $12 (would be fun for kids)

Image above, clockwise from top left: Menorahmorph, $39; Pomegranate Menorah, $229; Tree of Life Menorah, $150; Skyline Menorah, $125; Convertible Menorah, $265; Tova Menorah, $32.95; Amira Menorah, $130; Spode Menorah, $142

Image above: Glass Menorah, $75 (on sale from $300!)

Image above: Glowing Menorah, $29.95

Image above: Spalted Menorah, $128

Image above, clockwise from top left: Sabra Menorah, $128; Gold Menorah, $132; Woodland Linking Menorah, $90

Image above: Ceramic Menorah by Studio Kahn at Etsy, $129

Image above, clockwise from top left: Illume Menorah, $175; Cut Glass Menorah, $89.25; Antique Pewter Mini Menorah, $75; Nambe Menorah, $160

Image above, clockwise from top left: Hemispherical Menorah, $225; Odelia Tree Menorah, $190; Dreidel Menorah, $54; Recycled Wine Barrel Menorah, $275

Image above: Custom Wooden Menorah (with ceramic detail) by Paloma’s Nest at Etsy, $75

Image above: Reddish Design Menorah (price available upon request; contact via website)

Image above: Menorah Decal, $22.50

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  • I love these menorahs. Growing up in a Jewish home, the menorah was the one decorative element we had. Everything else tended to be mass-produced cardboard cutouts and blue lights. I think it is the other decorations that have been lacking. Christmas has decorations for every inch of the house, while Hannukah seems to only have a centerpiece. I would love to see more decoration ideas besides the menorah. Like hanging thousands of wooden dreidles on ribbon or golden coin mobiles. Hmm…that has got me thinking!

  • Oh you made my day- thanks. I’ve collected menorahs since my bat mitzvah. It’s amazing how the feel can change with each one from playful to eclectic to meaning- filled. Cant wait to unpack mine from storage as for these beauties, I’d like one of each, please. LoL

  • I’m not Jewish but I think menorah’s and the celebration of Hannukah is so beautiful. Is it wrong for Gentiles to have them too?

  • I second Amber’s comments! These are gorgeous menorahs (and if I didn’t already have 3 I might snap one of them up!), but there is so little out there in addition to menorahs for Channukah.

    @Amber – those are a couple of great ideas, are you going to make them?!

  • Love this post and how much menorahs have evolved. We have a beautiful Michael Aram tree of life one and a Carol Boyes one. You have to check out Carol Boyes – such stunning stuff. And to Dina, the non-jew who wants a Menorah – I’ll have a tree and you have a menorah! Decor is Decor.

  • I bought a beautiful and quite modern (very heavy, metal) menorah at Homegoods last year for only $12.99, so that’s a store worth checking out. We are a Christian family, but it’s worthwhile to remember the miracle of Hanukkah and we plan to learn more about it right along with our 2 year-old. Thank goodness for the internet to show us how to light this menorah properly the first time! I wonder how many people buy these thinking they’re just pretty candelabras for mini candles?

  • Absolutely love one of a kind holiday heirlooms. We live in Hawaii and made our menorah out of a lovely weathered piece of driftwood this year. Beautiful.

  • Thank you for posting this!!! I have the Michael Aram one and received it as a wedding shower gift. So many of these are pretty/ awesome.

  • The best menorah we have is one my kids made with me. At the hardware store, there are nuts in which Chanukah candles (the 99 cent ones) fit perfectly. We glued nine of them on some leftover wood, painted the wood, and now have a menorah that has lasted years.

  • i love this post! thank you for curating such a complete list, grace! i was pleasantly surprised to see how many you’d found! i think i’ll buy the glass one from abc, but PopJoy — you’ve given my husband & i a great idea. we’re going to make a menorah out of driftwood this weekend!

  • The Candle Blocks menorah is lovely, but very impractical. Hanukkah candles are supposed to be left lit until they go out on their own. They aren’t supposed to be blown out :/

  • @Hannah: it’s never wrong to have something because it is beautiful, but it might be useful to know what it’s for and what is being celebrated. Chanukiot (technically one of these is a Chanukiah; a menorah has 7 branches) are religious objects, not just pretty candelabras. Hannukah is a celebration of light and beauty and miracles, but it’s also commemoration of the events in 167 BCE, when a small group of ultra-religious Jewish fighters actively resisted their Syrian governors who they felt had forced secularization upon the Jews. Hannukah means “dedication.” This is something a lot of us conveniently forget, especially those of us who embrace secular culture and pretty menorahs/Chanukiot! I think decorative objects with crosses and crucifixes are often quite beautiful, but I recognize that they are objects that have a long history of religious beliefs and practices associated with them. Personally, I would feel uncomfortable bringing such an object into my own home, but to each her own.

  • Best menorah round-up ever! Thanks Grace. I’ll certainly be bookmarking this post for future wedding and Hannukah presents.

  • These are all lovely! One important note if you’re shopping for someone on the observant end of the spectrum is that for a menorah/hanukkiah to be considered kosher, the candles must all be in a straight line and at the same height (except, of course, for the taller shammash). Fortunately, lots of these meet those specifications!

  • @PC- I was just about to ask about that. I’m not Jewish so I don’t know [anything] about menorahs but I was curious if the design mattered in terms of religious compliance.

  • So creative and “elightening”. I have several and my favorite is one I bought when we became grandparents (10 years ago) to keep the tradition alive now that our kids are grown and gone from the house. It was great to see their eyes light up when they lit the candles for the first time. We still use this one with them and I still get overwhelmed with joy when lighting it with them.

  • Thank you so much, Grace, for including so many modern menorahs from ModernTribe.com! As far as modern Hanukkah decorations — we search high and low for them to sell every year — but missed the Menorah Decal — fabulous!

  • to Hannah and Mabsoota! Yes, non-jews for sure can have and enjoy jewish religious symbols that r pretty. Jews light candles every fri night-for sure u can have candle-sticks and even light candles whenever u feel like it. Jews r really happy people with many, many holidays. Each holiday has it’s symbolism and objects that r used-there is absolutely NO prohibition on using them by other nations (unless it is a Torah original scroll-Torah in translation most of ppl have already-it is called Old Testament:)
    BTW-Hannah-u have a biblical name:) and Mabsoota-if i understand it correctly from your nickname u r very “satisfied”:)

  • This is awesome! I love collecting menorahs. The light of the menorah should be seen be all, so I mass all of mine on a table in front of a floor-to–ceiling window and, I swear, they light the whole neighborhood! We get at least one new menorah each year, sometimes a DIY one made in religious school by one of the kids, sometimes a gift, sometimes just a great find on the web. I’ll be bookmarking this round-up for next year!

  • Nice round up, Grace! I’ve always wished for more options stateside (there are tons of gorgeous menorahs in Israel). It’s nice to see more modern Judaica available here now. Museum shops (like the NY Jewish Museum, the Skirball in LA, the Contemporary Jewish Museum in SF, and most gloriously the Israel Museum in Jerusalem) tend to be good places to find unique designs, if you find yourself near one.

    For those who might not know, I just wanted to echo what @Pamphilia alluded to, which is that a hanukiah (a Hanukkah menorah) has 9 stems, specifically. For more information, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menorah_(Hanukkah)

  • I am not of Jewish descent, but in Sweden we have these is each and every window during Christmas time (it means probably five or more per house), from first of advent and into the first week of January. Perhaps for us in Northern Europe it is a way to bring light into a long time of darkness and number seven is holy for us too. And it is beautiful. Merry Christmas! :)