First of all... what is a Menorah? For those who may not know, below is a simple definition:
Menorah - A menorah is a candelabrum with seven candles that is displayed in Jewish synagogues. The original design for the menorah is in the Torah, and it was used in rituals in the tabernacle (portable sanctuary) and later the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, it has had no formal role in Jewish prayer services or rituals. The presence of a menorah in some synagogues is purely symbolic.
The one exception to this concerns the Jewish festival of Chanukkah, in which a nine-branched version of the menorah is used; this nine branched menorah is properly called a Chanukkiah.
The Chanukkah menorah includes nine candles. Jewish folklore brings down that the reason is one for each day the oil miraculously burned when there was only enough for one day. The Talmud teaches that during the Greek rule in the Land of Israel, the Jews were not allowed to celebrate Sukkot, a holiday of eight days. Therefore, Chanukkah was deemed an eight day holiday from the outset in order to make up for them missed holiday of Sukkot. Today the candles are still lit in order to remember. The ninth candle, the shammes (in Yiddish) or shamash (in Hebrew), is a servant candle that is used to light the others.
This year Chanukah begins Monday December 22nd (it changes every year because the Jewish calendar differs from our calendar year) and continues for 8 days. If you need a menorah for yourself or as a gift, and prefer contemporary, modern or luxe designs to traditional ones, you won't find a more comprehensive selection than my list of over 140 options and growing.
Modern menorahs are gaining in popularity. And since last years' list was such a hit I've decided to continue to scour the world and web for new and more modern menorahs to add to last years' list.
Please note that although I've listed many menorahs, this list does not include 'novelty' menorahs of which there are many (you know... those cutesy or crafty ones made of cats or shoes or in the shape of Noah's ark).
Instead this list is focused on beautifully designed menorahs that deviate from the traditional style. The list includes impressive manufacturers like Tiffany & Co., Christofle, Steuben, and Simon Pearce as well as inexpensive but nice looking ones from Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn and other retailers. There are some crafted by famous metal smiths, some by hand blown glass artists, and others in limited versions or even 24k gold plated.
See more of my Modern Menorahs list at ThisNext.
Here's the 2009 Modern Menorah list for you