This exhibition ended on 9 January 2022
During the darkest days of the year, many religions and cultures celebrate festivals related to light. In Jewish tradition this is called Hanukkah, the holiday that commemorates the uprising of Jews against their Greek oppressors more than two thousand years ago. A bit of oil, enough to give light for one day, kept burning for eight days. In commemoration of this miracle, Jews light a menorah, or chanukiah, for a period of eight days – both at home and in synagogue – adding an extra candle each successive night.
There are 144 Hanukkah menorahs in the collections of the Jewish Museum and Portuguese Synagogue. Some date from the mid-sixteenth century, while others are more contemporary. The materials they are made of and designs also differ. In this way they reflect the history and diversity of Jewish life in the Netherlands. Several of these Hanukkah lamps are now on display in the Art Gallery of the Jewish Museum. Come have a look!