Written by Stacy Chbosky
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Lighting the candles of the menorah is a favorite childhood memory for so many Jewish people. Hanukkah is a wonderful time for traditions, family and friends. Lighting candles is an important part of many Jewish traditions, perhaps most famously in the lighting of the menorah candles for the celebration of Hanukkah. In fact, Hanukkah is known as the Festival of Lights.

Like Mezuzahs, menorahs seem to inspire artists to new creative heights. Perhaps artists are excited by the challenge of creating a unique take on a basic design that is thousands of years old. After all, people have been lighting menorahs for more than 2,000 years, since the lights were first re-lit in the temple of Jerusalem, 200 years B.C.E.

New Takes on an Ancient Tradition

While many menorah are very traditional, others are spectacularly modern. Traditional menorahs are often made of splendid silver filigree. Modern menorahs are created from everything from ceramic to pewter to brass to aluminum.

One of my favorite menorahs was created by an artist named Shraga Landesman. The gorgeous, cast aluminum menorah depicts two trees, as well as two animals. One tree represents the Tree of Life, an important Judaic symbol, and is joined by a gazelle. The other tree, adorned with a nearby bird, represents the Tree of Knowledge. This is a deeply religious yet beautifully modern menorah. Landesman is a talented Israeli artist whose work you should be able to find online.

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