As seen in the New York Times, The New York Observer, and Tablet Magazine.
In 1985, Richard Meier designed a Hanukkah lamp for an exhibition at the Israel Museum entitled Nerot Mitzvah: Contemporary Ideas for Light in Jewish Ritual. Meier wrote, "In the design of the Hanukkah lamp I was trying to express the collective memory of the Jewish people. Each candleholder is an abstracted representation of an architectural style from significant moments of persecution in the history of Jews. These are not intended as literal representations of specific events but rather as reminders of the common past and struggles that Jewish people have suffered and their resilience and strength that is so wonderfully captured by the Hanukkah story".
The design commemorates 4,000 years of Jewish history. Its pewter architectonic candleholders represent location of Jewish expulsion, hardship and remarkable perseverance. From left to right, the first five candleholders represent the expulsions from Egypt (the obelisk); Roman Palestine (Hadrian's victory column); France (1310); England (1290); and Spain (1492). The sixth candleholder represents the emancipation of Jews and expansion of the Jewish population in Vienna circa 1890. The seventh symbolizes the pogroms in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, and the eighth is a reminder of the concentration camps in Germany during WWII.
The architectural elements include an obelisk, a classical column, a crenellated tower, and a Gothic pointed arch. They not only demonstrate a progression through historical time, but perhaps also suggest the passage of time during the Hanukkah holiday. Regarding memory and tradition, Meier has written that "part of the significance of an awareness of architectural history is that we again value permanence, continuity and, therefore quality."
See this Hanukkah Lamp, among many others, in the Skirball Cultural Center's ongoing exhibition, Visions and Values: Jewish Life from Antiquity to America.
Limited Reproduction of Richard Meier Hanukkah Lamp, 1985.
Made of pewter.
Size: 8.5" W x 14" L x 2" D