This post was written by intern John Hanson.
If you follow us on social media, you’ve probably already heard the news – The Museum at Eldridge Street has opened a sprawling new exhibition, featuring over 100 menorahs displayed in the historic main sanctuary. It’s called Let There Be Light – A Whole Lotta Light! and it has the Museum shining in a whole new way.
From the private collection of Lori and David Moore, these menorahs represent more than 20 years of family collecting. The Moores began the tradition with their children, ages 2 and 4 at the time. They were seeking to engage and excite the kids in the Chanukah traditions that are sometimes overshadowed by the Christmas decorations blanketing Manhattan during the holiday season. The Moores have since amassed a collection over 100 strong.
Fun, whimsy and modernity were the priorities, especially when the children were doing the choosing. These days, the impressive collection is incredibly eclectic. Designs range from the abstract to the ornate; from the kitschy to the downright funny.
One menorah, celebrating historic shuls around the world, even features Eldridge Street’s historic facade! Staff favorites include a tiny basketball court, a glass doll house, high heels, a pink Cadillac, and a Curious George themed menorah. Though some are made by Israeli artists, the collection includes few antiquities. In a recent interview with the blog Collectors Weekly, David Moore described the assemblage as more “Americana” than serious or high art. In that regard, the collection mirrors Eldridge Street’s own unique identity – as a symbol of new American life and deep dedication to the early congregants’ Jewish roots. (Take a look at that blog post to see some wonderful images of the menorahs on display at Eldridge.)
The exhibition will also play a major role in an upcoming family program, Sunday, December 10. Menorah Mania! will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and give families a great chance to delight in the myriad kid-friendly shapes and sights on display. After gaining some inspiration from the exhibition, kids can make their own menorahs to take home at the end of the program. Families can join in a Chanukah sing-a-long and enjoy holiday snacks, like chocolate gelt. Reservations are required so don’t miss out on this fun chance to see the exhibition and get excited for the holiday! Get your tickets today.
Let There Be Light – A Whole Lotta Light! Menorahs from the Collection of the Lori and David Moore Family is on display until January 2, 2018. It is free with the price of Museum admission.
John Hanson is a student in the Bachelors-Masters Cohort at Parsons School of Design and Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at The New School. He is sophomore studying art history, architecture, and design.