Hanukkah Lamp for the Synagogue (Hanukiah)

This monumental Hanukkah lamp was created for synagogue use, modeled after a biblical menorah of pure gold. It was used at the White House Hanukkah celebration in 2003.

Unknown Artist

Ground Level Arts Lab - Currently On View

This nine-branched Hanukkah lamp is similar in form to the seven-branched menorah of the Tabernacle in the desert, and later of the Temple in Jerusalem. The ancient menorah is described in the biblical Book of Exodus (25:31-40) as a lampstand of pure gold, with a base, central shaft, and three branches radiating from each side, each containing an ornamental knob and flower and terminating in a cup shaped like an almond blossom.

At an unknown time a tradition developed in Ashkenaz of placing a large Hanukkah lamp modeled after the ancient menorah at the front of the synagogue. This lamp belongs to a special group that uses prickets to hold the candles rather than candle sockets. Other examples of this type are known to have been used in Germany and Bohemia.

  • Hannukah, 2003

    President George W. Bush helps Jacob Murphy light the menorah along with Jacob's father, Captain Neil Murphy Jr.

    December 22, 2003 at the White House. Photo by Paul Morse.

The Joy of Chanukah. This festive Chanukah tune has Yiddish words (Oy Chanukah) and English (Oh Chanukah)

Ground Level Arts Lab
Name: Hanukkah Lamp for the Synagogue (Hanukiah)
Artist: Unknown Artist
Location: Ground Level Arts Lab
Origin: Germany or Bohemia, 18th Century
Medium: Brass
Dimensions: 36 1/2 x 39 1/2 in.
Credit: Gift of Georgette Spertus from the Maurice Spertus Collection in honor of Herman Spertus’ 90th birthday
Catalog Number: 68.1.88
Asher LibraryLuminous Art: Hanukkah Menorahs of the Jewish Museum

Susan Braunstein (New York: Jewish Museum, 2004)

Asher LibraryFive Centuries of Hanukkah Lamps from the Jewish Museum: A Catalogue Raisonné

Susan Braunstein (New York: Jewish Museum, 2004)