Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Faithful Lamps of Jewish History

The Lights of Tradition

Rothschild LampJohann Heinrich Philip Schott Sons; Frankfurt am Main, Germany, c. 1850. Nancy M. Berman, in Tablet Magazine discusses three Hanukkiahs, one of which dates to Renaissance Italy of late 16th or early 17th century. This neoclassical Hannukiah dates to 1850; you will note the unicorn and the lion that are part of its base—both symbols of royalty. In “Dazzling, Old Lamps” (December 28, 2016), Berman writesThe Rothschild family crest is emblazoned on the base of this classic and formally beautiful silver candelabra. This definitive identification mark in the form of the family’s baronial escutcheon provides the provenance so rare in most objects of Judaica. The lamp’s ownership can be attributed to Baron Wilhelm Karl von Rothschild and Baroness Hannah Mathilde von Rothschild, well-known German Jews. The coat of arms was granted to the Rothschilds, along with baronial status, by the imperial decree to the family in 1822.” The 120-page hardcover books contains 48 photos of Hannukah art and, equally important, the stories behind each piece, the beautiful ornate old lamps of Jewish history.
Photo Credit: ©2016. Nancy M. Berman; The Art of Hanukkah

Our Hanukkiahs: The one on the left is our family Hanukkiah; and the one on the right was made by our youngest son (Eli) when he was five. Today is the eighth and last day of Hanukkah (חנוכה, “Feast of Dedication,” also known as the “Festival of Lights”). Our family lit the candles marking the occasion, as Jews throughout the world have done since at least the time the Mishnah (מִשְׁנָה‎) was completed and published at the end of the second century CE. It details how and when Hanukkah lights ought to be lit. The holiday ends tonight at sundown.
Photo Credit & Source: ©Perry J. Greenbaum, 2016