This large lamp is one of the masterpieces of Jerusalem’s Bezalel School of Arts and Crafts, the first modern design school for Jewish ritual objects. Such an impressive lamp would be appropriate for either a synagogue or a wealthy home. The lamp takes the form of the menorah, the seven-branched lamp stand of the wilderness tabernacle of the Israelites and Second Temple in Jerusalem. However, two more branches have been added to allow for the required eight lights of Hanukkah plus the central server light (shamash). The eight lights commemorate the miracle of Hanukkah: when the Temple plundered by the Greeks was rededicated, there was only enough consecrated oil for the eternal flame in the Temple to burn for one day, but the oil burned for eight days until a fresh supply of consecrated oil could be obtained.
Bezalel artists like Ze’ev Raban worked to create a self-consciously “Hebrew style,” rooted in the romantic belief that the artistic traditions of the local Arab and Jewish communities were closest to the forms and styles of art of the ancient Hebrews.
Tags: symmetry, balance.
Purchased with funds from the North Carolina State Art Society (Robert F. Phifer Bequest), the Friends of the Judaic Art Gallery, and JoAnn Pizer-Fox and Stanley H. Fox in honor of their children