I will be participating in the Salon ha Cubia exhibit opening October 28, 2017, at 8 pm in Nayot in Jerusalem, as part of the city-wide Manofim project. Closing January 25, 2018. Hope to see you there. Invitation

Pleased to be participating in the exhibition HOME(less) at HUC-JIR Museum NY. Running through the end of June 2018. For details see post

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Eighth Candle: Fully Lit and then Ebbing Away

"The Eighth Night, the Jewish Quarter"  c. 2011 by Heddy Abramowitz

In this last post for the week of Chanukah, I will be pulling together little bits of this and that didn't fit into a neat subject but  together summarize the week for me.

One of the things that I have always appreciated about living in Israel is how natural Israelis are about their Judaism. One such example is that store owners who can not leave their businesses at dusk to light their candles at home, will do so at their place of business in the most matter-of-fact way, as in this scene which took place in the open air market of Mahaneh Yehuda.

"Fishmonger Prepares Chanukiah" c. 2011 by Heddy Abramowitz

"Chanukah at the Fish Stall"  c. 2011 by Heddy Abramowitz

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"Chanukiah"  (glass bottle, olive oil, wicks) by Ken Goldman

This contemporary take on the chanukiah by Ken Goldman is one of the Chanukah-related artworks that caught my eye. Goldman, a trained industrial artist, took "the road less travelled" (thank you Robert Frost) when he moved to Israel to live on Kibbutz Shluchot in the Beit Shean Valley, not exactly a world art center. Nonetheless,  Goldman 's ripples are felt on distant shores as he explores edgy turns on issues relating to  Judaism in the current world.

Here, the essence of the candelabra is  reduced to a bottle of oil laid on its side and oil wicks inserted directly into the oil supply. (children:  do not try this at home). The minimalist take on the traditional ritual object makes this the white canvas of the Judaica world.

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Since so many people travel great distances to enjoy the Chanukah lights that are in my neighborhood, I will share with you a few glimpses of the street where I live.

"Chanukah Lights and Passers-by"  c. 2011 by Heddy Abramowitz

"Channukah Lights and Geranium"  c. 201l  by  Heddy Abramowitz

"Chanukiot on Lane in Jewish Quarter"  c. 2011 by Heddy Abramowitz

"Multi-story Chanukiah" c.20ll by Heddy Abramowitz

"Chanukah Lamps and Metal Door"  c.2011 by Heddy Abramowitz
"Women's Seminary Door and Chanukiot"  c.2011by Heddy Abramowitz

"The Last Glow"  c.2011 by Heddy Abramowitz

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To close,  here is a cartoon from the legendary cartoonist, Yaakov Kirschen, whose "Dry Bones" cartoon series in the Jerusalem Post has made the world seem a little less bleak for so many people. 


  1. what a wonderful way to begin another Friday morning packed with cooking and cleaning before shabbat.................I went through the entire Chanukah blog and apart from being really inspired again by your verbal gift - I was left with two thoughts at the end of such a difficult political-religious week in Israel.
    The pure seal recently uncovered - look where we are going with purity and the seal of mehadrin' being imposed on Israeli society by an ever growing black part of our community............
    The olive oil bottle transformed into a chanukiah - I wonder if it also reflects a political message of burning down the olive trees so vital in everyday life for the Arab Israeli community.
    Thanks again for letting us see art in a such a special way in the streets of Jerusalem

  2. Jeanette,

    Thank you for your kind comments and thoughts.

    On the question of the ancient seal - archaeologists are only now weighing in with their interpretations of its significance. Suffice it to say that there is a big difference between an official supervising authority who gives approval for items in ritual use in the Temple, and the self-appointed rabble who try to bully the general public with their extremist world-view. Unfortunately, there are fanatics in every population and society, and we, sadly, are no exception.

    As to the olive oil as a political message- I can't speak for the intentions of the artist, but I do know that both Jewish and Arab farmers rely on these trees and their fruit in the local economies. The Palestinians have appropriated the olive harvest as a symbol of their political efforts, but Jewish farmers have had their own share of woes regarding thefts of tree plantings, equipment and livestock. So I'm not so sure I could read into this piece of art any specific political symbolism regarding the olive tree.

    I would say, though, that the fact that this holiday marks an event regarding the necessity of pure olive oil in Temple practices from 2,147 years ago (and one can presume from before, as well) speaks to an ancient connection between the Jewish people and local olive cultivation. They didn't use canola oil in the Temple ceremonies.

  3. Sorry, that should have been: 2, 176 years above.