A Celebration of the Hanukah menorah in glass, through December 8
Special exhibit hours:
Wednesdays and Thursdays, noon to 8 pm
Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, noon to five pm
Closed Saturdays and Mondays.
Admission to the exhibition is free.
All work is for sale, prices starting at $150
Wednesday, October 30 at 6 pm: Talk on the history and contemporary interpretations of the Hanukah menorah by Executive Director Linda Steinberg and Curator Miriam Seidel.
In a unique celebration of Jewish tradition, the Gershman Y presents A Touch of Glass, an exhibit of glass Hanukah menorahs, or Hanukkiot, in the Borowsky Gallery through December 8, 2013. This invitational exhibition features the work of twelve glass artists from all over the United States, as well as Canada and Australia.
The artists in A Touch of Glass bring a wide range of aesthetic choices to their work, and succeed in revealing many different facets of the medium. Steve Resnick, a noted Judaica artist based in Silver Spring, MD, creates delicate etched-glass patterns within the standing menorah shape. The California glass artist Bella Feldman has contributed a thick, sculptural glass form meant to evoke the Jewish Second Temple in which the oil miraculously burned for eight days. For Eunsuh Choi of Rochester, NY, the menorah becomes a transparent tree of life, while the clean, timeless forms of Australian Ede Horton’s Hanukah menorahs seem to capture pure color essences. Jon Goldberg’s Hanukah menorah includes separate glass “candles” which glow under black light.
“Glass, with its ability to reflect and transform light, is a uniquely appropriate medium in which to embody the Hanukah menorah. For Jewish families, it also conveys traditional metaphors for the concept of light—hope, renewal and sanctity,” explained Curator Miriam Seidel.
The celebration of Hanukah, known as the Festival of Lights, commemorates the first fight for religious freedom in Jewish history. In 165 B.C.E., a small group of Jews led by Judah Maccabee rebelled against the Syrian king Antiochus, who required all of his subjects to practice the Greek religion. Victorious, the Jews returned to Jerusalem to rededicate the Temple by relighting the great Menorah. Although they found a single flask of oil that was supposed to have burned for only one day, the oil miraculously lasted for eight days instead. This was the first Hanukah, which means “dedication” in Hebrew. The central ritual object of Hanukah, the menorah holds eight candles, plus one more used to light the other candles, one more each day until they are all lit on the eighth day. Lighting the Hanukah menorah enables the user to perform the commandment of remembering the miracle of Hanukah.
The menorah is the oldest and most authentically Jewish symbol. The first menorah was built for the tabernacle in the desert, and is described in Exodus 37:17-18 and Numbers 8:1-2. A menorah was placed in the Temple in Jerusalem (I Kings 7 [First Temple] and Zechariah 4:2-4 [Second Temple]) and is depicted on the Arch of Titus being carried away by Roman soldiers as well as in extant synagogues dating from the Third Century CE.