Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of lights. Although Hanukkah commemorates important historical events, it’s a fun festival and a big favorite with kids. At the center of any traditional Hanukkah is the custom of ritual candle lighting. Families gather around the Hanukkah menorah and add a new candle for each day of the holiday. A handmade Hanukkah menorah is a wonderful gift for any Jewish family. Read on for more about the unique winter festival of Hanukkah and a guide to the 10 best Hanukkah menorahs.
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What is Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is a Jewish festival that lasts for eight nights and begins every year on the Hebrew calendar date 25th Kislev. Hanukkah commemorates a tumultuous time in Jewish history when the Maccabean rebels recovered Jerusalem and rededicated the Second Temple. We light Hanukkah candles yearly to remember their struggle for independence twenty-two centuries ago.
Hanukkah Menorahs – Hanukkiahs
At the heart of the annual Hanukkah celebrations is the special nine-branch menorah or candelabra. Its correct name is a hanukkiah, but most people in the US know it simply as a Hanukkah menorah. Each night during the holiday, an additional candle is lit, until at the end of Hanukkah when the entire candelabra holds nine burning candles.
Lighting the hanukkiah is a family event that’s usually accompanied by sufganiyot (jam donuts) latkes, or other tasty treats. It’s a wonderful time for kids and there’s usually a lot of competition to light the candles. Hanukkah is a winter festival and is sometimes known as the Jewish Christmas. Very rarely, people in Jerusalem or the North of Israel will even see snow during Hanukkah.
Are Traditional Hanukkiahs made of Sterling Silver?
Many traditional Hanukkah menorahs are made of fine 925 sterling silver, but there are no rules about what materials hanukkiahs are made of. Modern handmade Hanukkahmenorahs are made from an exciting range of materials and come in several styles.
925 sterling silver
We’ll take a look at the 10 best Hanukkah menorahs or hanukkiahs. They are all handmade in Israel by some of the country’s finest craftsmen and designers. Even the most modern materials like cast concrete and polymer clay are surprisingly beautiful. The menorah designs would be immediately recognizable to our ancestors who rebelled against the Seleucids and recovered Jerusalem and the Temple over two thousand years ago!
10 Best Hanukkah Menorahs from Israel
It’s a real challenge to identify the 10 best Hanukkah menorahs. There are so many beautiful and exciting designs that the 10 best actually just come down to individual preference and taste. We’ve got a selection of what we think are the very best items of fine Judaica.
Our Criteria for the 10 Best Hanukkah Menorahs
All our best Hanukkah menorahs are handmade in Israel.
Regardless of material or style, they reflect the ancient Jewish Hanukkah traditions.
All the featured Hanukkah menorahs are crafted to the highest standards with perfect craftsmanship and an immaculate finish.
If there’s one Hanukkah menorah that really stands out from the rest of the 2022 ICOJ collection, it’s this wonderful 925 sterling silver hanukkiah by Jerusalem silversmith Avi Nadav. The large, nine branch candelabra is decorated with exquisite Yemenite style silver filigree work – the mark of a master silversmith – and is studded with polished purple amethysts.
Avi Nadav has created a Hanukkah menorah that is on a par with the very best examples from Jewish history. This superb item of Judaica sits on a solid hexagonal base and is designed to be a safe and robust candelabra for your home or synagogue. The ornate decorations complement the gleaming sterling silver surface, and this treasure will become a prized family heirloom in years to come!
This is a distinctive handmade Hanukkah menorah that follows a traditional design. It’s simple, elegant, and very beautiful. The hanukkiah sits on a round base and flows upwards into a perfectly proportioned nine branch candelabra. This is another superb item of Judaica by Israeli artisan Avi Nadav. In place of ornate decoration, he opted for a hammered silver that creates a unique aged effect.
The hammered silver finish also captures and reflects the flickering candlelight. When you light the hanukkiah, you’ll be amazed at how it appears to glitter. This traditional silver Hanukkah menorah is a wonderful gift for any family that loves to gather round and celebrate Hanukkah with candles and food treats. It is also a collectors item that will take pride of place in any Judaica display.
Avi Nadav continues to display his versatility and creativity with this unique Hanukkah menorah. The style is traditional – and would be recognizable to an ancient Israelite – but the material is ultra-modern. Avi Nadav uses boldly colored anodized aluminum to handcraft this stunning modern menorah. Anodized aluminum might sound like an industrial product, but you’ll be amazed by the simple beauty of this special Hanukkiah.
When you buy an anodized aluminum Hanukkah menorah online at ICOJ, you can request your own personal choice of colors. A popular choice is a combination of blues and silver, reproducing the traditional colors of Judaism and the modern Israeli flag. The anodized aluminum hanukkiah is ultra-hardwearing and completely safe to use at home with candles or oil pots.
Hanukkah is very much a children’s holiday. Kids love lighting the Hanukkah candles and eating sufganiyot and other holiday treats. If you have a young family, or grandkids, this colorful Noah’s Ark Hanukkah menorah could be the perfect Hanukkah gift! The fun hanukkiah is handmade from advanced polymer clays by Israeli sculptor Yigal Natani. It’s bright, cheerful, and features a collection of cute, lifelike animals.
Like all the Hanukkah menorahs on sale at ICOJ, this colorful polymer clay hanukkiah is designed for practical use. There are nine places for candles or oil posts and the menorah is completely safe to light at home. Your kids or grandkids will treasure this fun item of handmade modern Judaica from Israel.
This stunning, and intricately crafted silver train menorah isn’t just for kids. It will delight train lovers of all ages and is a unique collectors item. The Hanukkah train menorah consists of two separate carriages, drawn by an old fashioned engine. Each carriage carries 4 holders for candles or oil pots, and the engine carries the holder for the shamash candle. The entire train is decorated with intricate silver filigree work.
This very special item of Judaica is the work of top Israeli silversmith Shoham Simchi. It is handmade in his Jerusalem design studio and is perfect in every detail. Shoham has skilfully crafted every part of a real train from 925 sterling silver, including the wheels, couplings and steam engine. The handcrafted menorah isn’t a you though – it’s a functioning candelabra that will safely support nine Hanukkah candles or oil pots.
If you want more Hanukkah Judaica for children, check out our handmade dreidels. These traditional Jewish children’s toys come in a range of styles and materials – and many are also genuine collectors items. If you’re already buying a Hanukkah menorah, a dreidel spinning top is the perfect small gift to go with it!
Avi Nadav has taken the ancient traditional hanukkiah design and reinvented it as a slim and elegant designer menorah. The nine branched candelabra is handmade from gleaming sterling silver and will captivate you with its perfect proportions. If you love ultra-modern minimalism, this designer hanukkiah with its flowing silver body, could be the perfect match for your home decor.
The designer 925 sterling silver Hanukkah menorah may look delicate, but it is superbly balanced and robustly designed. The slender stand effortlessly supports the top bar with nine holders for candles or oil pots. When you buy the silver hanukkiah online, you can personalize it with your family name or other lettering. Our Jerusalem silversmiths will take care of everything!
The luxurious Royal Menorah with Israeli Onyx is inspired by the treasures of King Solomon and King David. It is an item of fine handmade Judaica that is fit for an ancient royal palace in the Land of the Bible. The silver filigree menorah contains nine onyx stone candlesticks, each ending in a sculpted silver candle or oil pot holder. The candelabra is supported by handcrafted onyx and filigree silver legs.
This is a unique item of Judaica, intended for traditionalists who also love beautiful treasures. Once lit, it will form a stunning centerpiece and create an amazing Hanukkah atmosphere. When you look at the Royal Menorah, you can easily imagine that you traveled back in time to the court of an ancient Jewish king!
There are some amazing Hanukkah menorahs in the ICOJ Boutique Online Collection. Once in a while we find a design that really stands out for its originality, creativity, and beautiful silverwork. Shoham Simchi has created a true work of art with his Klezmer Hanukkah Menorah. The handmade silver filigree candelabra features nine perfectly crafted figures, each playing a musical instrument. This unique hanukkiah is an amazing gift for any musician or music lover!
Shoham Simchi has used all his skill as a silversmith to create this superb item of collectible Judaica. The quality of the silver filigree work is outstanding and the proportions of the menorah and the musicians are perfect. The Klezmer Hanukkah Menorah is also a functional item that will safely burn nine Hanukkah candles or oil pots.
This bold, urban style concrete and brass menorah represents the best of modern Israeli design. It’s minimalist, striking in appearance, and has a distinct functional beauty. These designer hanukkiah are handmade in Israel using a special concrete casting technique. The nine candle holders are made of brass and create a strong contrast with the colored concrete body.
These modern urban Hanukkah menorahs are an Israel Center of Judaica special. They are available in a variety of colors and designs. Cast concrete is a versatile material and ICOJ designers pour it into perfect geometric blocks. One of the most popular color choices is a black concrete body, topped with shiny brass candle holders. This is a robust and practical menorah that will look amazing in a modern home!
Israeli artist Itay Bar Menashe has used the soft natural warmth of Jerusalem stone to create an ancient looking Hanukkah menorah. The natural pink and beige shades of the Jerusalem stone look amazing under candlelight. The sculpted stone is the perfect body for this handmade hanukkiah with its nine silver candleholders. This kind of simple and elegant design was used for centuries by people who didn’t have the tools or resources to create elaborate menorahs.
The Jerusalem stone is polished and treated with sealers to enhance its colors and protect it from dripping candle wax. It’s a unique and beautiful item of Judaica that looks like a genuine historical artifact from ancient Israel. The menorah has a simple, rugged beauty that will charm anybody who sees it. It’s also a functional candelabra that safely supports nine Hanukkah candles or traditional oil pots.
ICOJ is continually adding new designs and products to its online Hanukkah Judaica range. If you’re looking for special Hanukkah gifts, we’ll be happy to help you find the perfect item. Our Jerusalem designers and silversmiths will also be delighted to personalize or customize any Hanukkah gift that you buy in our online store. You can schedule a call or Zoom with an English speaking artisan at any time.