Eight Crazy Nights

Photo by woodleywonderworks.

Photo by woodleywonderworks.

The 2nd Annual Museumist Gift Guide and Museum Holiday Roundup

That’s right, it’s the Holiday Season, and we’re ready to celebrate. Over the next month, we’ll be featuring gift ideas for the museum lover on your list as well as glimpses at how museums around the world ring in the holidays.

In the words of the noted Jewish scholar, Adam Sandler: “Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights. Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights.” On its most basic level, Hanukkah is a celebration of an important event in Jewish history: in 165 B.C., the Jews defeated the Syrian Greeks and rededicated the Temple of Jerusalem. In order to purify the Temple of the polytheistic ways that had defiled it, the Jews hoped to burn a menorah for 8 days. Unfortunately, they only had enough oil to burn for one night. But with a little divine intervention, that small amount of oil was able to burn for the full eight nights, and a holy holiday was born.

Today marks the seventh of the eight crazy nights of Hanukkah, but there are plenty of museums that will be keeping the flame alive throughout the entire holiday season. One such example, is the Jewish Museum in New York City, who currently has an exhibit of Hanukkah-inspired works from seven artists on display. A kinetic sculpture of an oversized dreidel shares space with Eleanor Antin’s hopeful mixed media piece, Vilna Nights. It’s an exhibit that seeks to capture both the symbols and the essence of the holiday through art. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the rest of the Hanukkah 2010 offerings at the museum, like the over 500 menorahs on display or Daniel Libeskind’s Line of Fire.

Another museum worth checking out for Hanukkah-related festivities is the Jewish Museum of Berlin. Each year, they offer up a month-long Hanukkah Market that not only gives visitors a chance to sample tasty kosher warm spiced wine and purchase Judaica items from around the world, but also an opportunity to take in the rather impressive architecture of the museum itself.

If you can’t make it to either of these museums, I’m sure there is a cultural institution near you spreading the Hanukkah cheer. So, Chag Sameach and Happy Hanukkah!

Leave a Reply