The designs of Hanukkah lamps often incorporate architectural forms. In 1985 the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, invited leading architects to submit designs of Hanukkah lamps for an exhibition entitled Nerot Mitzvah: Contemporary Ideas for Light in Jewish Ritual. The hanukkiah pictured below was designed by Richard Meier, the architect of the Getty Center just down the road from the Skirball. An original is on view in the Skirball’s core exhibition, Visions and Values: Jewish Life from Antiquity to America.
The obelisk on the far left represents Egypt—historically the period of slavery culminating in the Exodus story.
Second is a column of Roman style, representing the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE.
The third branch is a castle-like tower representing England, from which there was an expulsion of Jews in 1290. Specifically it may be the Tower of York where there was a massacre of Jews in 1190. Continue reading