Festival of Lights

The Festival of Lights, also known as Hanukkah, begins this year on December 7. It is one of the most joyous festivals in the Jewish calendar and signifies the victory of light over darkness. The menorah is lit to symbolize the miracle of Hanukkah and glass is the perfect material for this purpose because of its inherent translucency. Unique glass menorahs, made by talented artists in our community, are now available for sale in the WMODA Museum Shop.

Menorah is Hebrew for lamp and Hanukkah is the Feast of Dedication which commemorates the miracle of light when the Temple in Judea was rededicated by the Jews after an oppressive siege. The Temple candelabrum had seven branches – one for each day of Creation. Only one vial of oil was left to light the eternal flame after the conflict but miraculously it remained lit for eight days.

Appropriately, Jews light candles on their menorahs for eight consecutive days to celebrate this event.  The Hanukkah menorah has eight candleholders of the same height and a ninth branch, the shamash meaning “helper”, that is set higher than the rest. Hanukkah candles are considered holy and are not used for lighting other candles which is why the shamash is used. Traditionally, the menorah was put on a shelf outside of the house to denote a Jewish home. Now it’s often put on a windowsill to shine a light through darkness when the days grow short.

Judaica is a specialty of local artist, Chelsea Rousso, who makes beautiful glass menorahs and mezuzahs which are sold at WMODA. The klaf scroll inside the mezuzah contains the Shema prayer which protects Jewish homes against spiritual and physical harm.  Anne Orvieto makes a different style of glass menorah with a removable candleholder so that her art can be enjoyed all year round. Anne also makes fused glass plates featuring Jewish symbols, including the dreidel. The spinning top game is traditionally played on Hanukkah and the Hebrew letters mean “A Great Miracle Happened There.”

Glass is the perfect material for the Festival of Lights. It allows light to pass through it according to the opacity of the colors and textures used by the artist.  It has the potential to stir the imagination and evoke an emotional response. In Anne’s words, “I always consider how light can enhance my art. Some of the iridescent pieces look best in dim light, while transparent colors make beautiful shadows when the sun shines through. Every piece of glass inspires me with endless possibilities of expression.”

Anne Orvieto is donating her profits from the sale of her menorahs to the United Nations World Food Program. The world’s largest humanitarian organization saves lives in emergencies and uses food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability, and prosperity, for people recovering from conflict and disasters.

Light up your holidays and support world peace. Call WMODA if you would like to acquire any of these unique Jewish designs. 954. 376.6690

Read more about Hanukkah Make your Hanukkah Extra Bright