Seven years ago, I began compiling an annual list 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 an old style or traditional Hanukkia or Menorah.
above: Stanley Saitowitz, Menorah, 1995, stainless steel, 16.5 x 4.5 x 8.75 inches. Fabrication by Natoma Architects. Courtesy of the artist. Photos: Brian McGanty
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: Crate and Barrel's Mid-Century Modern-style Brass Menorah for 2013
above: 2013 Menorah created by Albert Paley for Brock & Co. , limited to 20 editions.
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 DCI's LED Motherboard Menorah, the giant Matchstick Menorah and the Galvanized Pipe Menorah by Joe Grand, 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 and architects like Dali, Agam, Romeo Britto and Richard Meier.
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 Mellor 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.
Additions since 2011:
Architectonic Menorah designed by Richard Meier:
Ascalon Menorah with Candles, Designed by Brad Ascalon for Design Within Reach:
Sharsheret Link Brass Menorah:
Veritas Translucent Menorah for Barney's:
Veritas U Shaped Blue Translucent Menorah for Barney's
Josh Owen Cast Iron Menorah for AREAWARE
Electric Wood Menorah Lamp by Studio Pepe Haykoop :
Industrial Style Copper Menorah:
Sea Light Menorahs made from recycled guitars by Weisbeck Design:
(available at both the Jewish Museum and Modern Tribe)
The Temple Menorah by Mary Jurek:
The Lumenella Step Menorah:
Water Blossom Menorah by Amy Reichert
JML Menorah by Amy Reichert:
Jonathan Adler's Utopia Reversible Man/Woman Menorah:
Jonathan Adler's Ceramic Elephant and Dacschund Menorahs
Jonathan Adler Bel Air Lucite Menorah (blue or yellow)
'Fragile' Menorah by Studio Kahn
The Large and Small Cork Menorahs by Daniel Michalik in blue, red or green screenprint.
Module R Hex Menorah by Ian Milne (silver or brass):
A Stunning Steampunk menorah by Weirdward Works (sold):
A One of A Kind Menorah made of perfume bottles by Mr. Kate
The Bloom Menorah by Melanie Dankowicz:
Rainbow Rock Menorah
200+ Menorahs from 2006 - 20011:
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. Please note that some may no longer be available for purchase.
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, 2013 (Hanukkah begins sundown Nov. 27), 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.