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Beginning in 2006, I began making annual lists of beautifully designed and unusual modern menorahs for those who wanted to participate in the tradition of the nightly lighting of the candles in observance of Hanukkah (or Chanukah) without the old style Hanukkia or Menorah.
At that time is was hard to find any accessible and affordable Judaica that was contemporary, let alone modern, but that has since changed. Artists, designers and popular stores like Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn and Target all carry menorahs now, most sold online, but that doesn't mean they are all attractive or well-designed. So, I've separated the wheat from the chaff for you.
above: Online stores like Modern Tribe make a point of carrying the latest contemporary Judaica, like the Nail Mountain menorah by Seth Nagelberg shown above
This list doesn't include cheesy novelty menorahs made in the shape of shoes, trains, school buses, dogs, dancing rabbis or cats. Okay, admittedly I did include the Motherboard Menorah, the giant Matchstick Menorah and the Galvanized Pipe Menorah, which may border on novelty to some, but have a Pop art and Dada-like style.
above: The motherboard menorah, pipe menorah and matchstick menorah made the list because of their Pop art and Dada qualities
The list does include modern and functional menorahs that range from high end menorahs by well-known luxury brands like Tiffany, Christofle, Steuben, Waterford, Spode, Lenox and Nambé to artisan menorahs by some of Israel's finest artists, metalsmiths and jewelers.
above: Nambé Illume Menorah, new for 2009
above: an unusual menorah from Reddish Design Studio suspends found candleholders in a white frame.
The list also includes ultra modern versions from such hip designers as Jonathan Adler and Karim Rashid and even menorahs by world renowned modern artists like Dali, Agam and Britto.
above: the Levels menorah by Yaacov Agam is layered 24kt gold over bronze and was designed in 1966
Other respected brands with their own line of items like David Mellor, Michael Aram, Simon Pearce, Umbra and Jay Strongwater also have menorahs on this list.
above: Corin Mellor's Stainless Steel Menorah for David Mellon Design is limited to 6 editions
Blown glass, borosilicate glass, hand-forged iron, gold, gold-plated, sterling silver, silver plate, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, pewter, exotic woods, stone, cement, lucite, acrylic, resin and even Swarovski studded menorahs can be found on the list.
above: the most blingy on the list is a menorah encrusted in Swarovski crystals
There's a huge range of prices, from $14.00 to over $100,000.00, so you can see that price was not a criteria for the list. Some are limited editions, some are one of a kind and some may already be sold out.
All you have to do is click on the menorah below that interests you and you'll be taken to thisnext.com where you can find more details and a link to the store or dealer to purchase it.
The 201 Modern Menorahs:
You may have noticed that the menorahs by MacKenzie-Child's are not included in my list, but if you are a fan of those, you can find those here.
Between now and the first night of Hanukkah, I will be adding more modern menorahs I find to my list so be sure to continue to check it out here.
The first night to light the candles this year, 2009, begins December 11th. So, if you don't have a menorah you like by now, you'd better start shopping. And if you can't find a menorah you like in this exhaustive list, then you're meshugge.