In our advice column, Ask the Strategist, we take your most burning shopping questions and scour friends, call up experts, and draw from personal experience to answer them. As always, please comment with one of your own — we’re here to help.
Question: I’m obsessing about buying a menorah and I’m hoping you can help comb the internet for some options. I keep coming up with the Michael Aram ones which are fine but feel a little stuffy. I found one on the Citizenry Instagram that seemed cool and gave me hope that there are more out there. Can you write an article about where to find modern menorahs?
Hanukkah starts this Sunday night, so it’s time to hunt down your menorah, clean off the remains of last year’s wax, and give it a good polish. There are lots of nine-pronged candelabra on the market, but not all of them are created equal. According to Rabbi Jeff Salkin, senior rabbi of Temple Solel in Hollywood, Florida, “The rules for a kosher hanukiyah (Hanukah menorah) are pretty simple.” In short, “All the candles, except for the shamash (the candle that does the lighting), must be exactly the same height. It’s the dream of equality. That dream keeps our lights on.”
But what about style? We called fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi for more guidance. “The right menorah makes the holiday bright and happy,” says Mizrahi, whose own menorah comes from the Jewish Museum in New York. “The wrong menorah can touch off the wrong memories.” While his preferred chanukiahs are sleek and refined, he ultimately believes that it’s about finding one that invites joy and lightness into the doldrums of winter.
Here are eight options — one for each night.
As black-and-white as a half-moon cookie, this solid marble menorah from Jonathan Adler is sophisticated and fresh, both funky and timeless.
For those with children but not a childish sense of design, this wooden puzzle menorah is an interactive yet modern choice.
Inspired by a bagel but more reminiscent of a macaroni noodle, this menorah isn’t technically kosher, but would blend in seamlessly with other eccentric decor or food-themed novelties.
Visually humorless but elegant all the same, Brad Ascalon’s piece is part of the permanent collection at the National Museum of American Jewish History and one of Oprah’s Favorite Things of 2011.
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