Inspired by a lamp designed by Meier in 1985, each candle holder of the pewter menorah is an abstract architectural representation of significant moments of hardship during Jewish history.
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From left to right, the first five candle holders represent locations of Jewish expulsion from Egypt, Roman Palestine, France, England and Spain. The sixth and seventh holders symbolise their emancipation and the violence they experienced and the eighth is a reminder of the concentration camps.
Meier has also designed three mezuzahs – containers for rolls of scriptures that are traditionally fixed to door frames – replicating the English, Spanish and Viennese candle holders.
Here’s some more information from the architect:
Richard Meier Introduces Exclusive Menorah for The Jewish Museum
New York, NY (November 9, 2010) -Pritzker Prize winning architect Richard Meier is unveiling a limited edition menorah and exclusive series of mezuzahs for The Jewish Museum in New York. The featured Menorah is a reproduction of the “Meier Lamp” originally commissioned by the Israel Museum in 1985; an original is part of the Jewish Museum’s permanent collection. A limited edition of menorahs will be available for $1000 for purchase through The Jewish Museum Shops beginning November 2010. Meier’s Menorah is the first of Design Edition JM, the first curated collection of modern Judaica by contemporary artists and designers.
“In the design of the Hanukkah Menorah I was trying to express the collective memory of the Jewish people,” explains Meier. “Each candleholder is an abstracted representation of an architectural style from significant moments of persecution in the history of Jews. The first being the expulsion of the Jews from Egypt and the last symbolizing the towers of the concentration camps in Germany. 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 locations 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. A copy of the menorah resides in Mr. Meier’s home and is still used by the architect during the holidays.
From the menorah, Meier has designed three mezuzahs in pewter taken from the English, Spanish and Vienna towers. “Often housed in a decorative, protective case, a mezuzah is a scroll that is inscribed with the Shema (verses taken from Deuteronomy), a central prayer in Jewish liturgy that affirms the covenant between God and the Jewish people. This particular passage also obligates Jews to affix a mezuzah to the doorposts of their homes,” said Daniel Belasco, Henry J. Leir Associate Curator at The Jewish Museum. The mezuzahs will retail for $125 and be available for purchase exclusively through all three Jewish Museum Shops in New York City as well as online through http://shop.thejewishmuseum.org.
About The Jewish Museum
Widely admired for its exhibitions and educational programs that inspire people of all backgrounds, The Jewish Museum is the preeminent United States institution exploring the intersection of 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture. The Jewish Museum was established in 1904, when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial art objects to The Jewish Theological Seminary of America as the core of a museum collection. Today, the Museum maintains an important collection of 26,000 objects – paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photographs, archaeological artifacts, ceremonial objects, and broadcast media. The Jewish Museum is located at 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street in New York City.
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