Posted in Clay, Judiasm

The Subversive Menorah and Other Stories

 

I used to work for the New Mexico Public Defender Department, a state agency. Per the US Supreme Court, state agencies cannot have a religious display. So the office got decorated for Christmas every year. According to the US Supreme Court, employees are allowed a “small, personal display” in their work area. This does not mean the reception area can be decorated as if it were Rockefeller Center. Which is how the reception area was decorated each year. One year, I objected and got snarled at, growled at and yelled at by nearly every other employee. I was amazed at the number of attorneys who were clueless about the separation of church and state. I asked about having a menorah in my office during Hanukkah. Note that the menorah is a “small, personal display” that would be confined to my work area. Nope. Can’t have a menorah.

So I made the Subversive Menorah. We couldn’t have lighted candles per the fire codes, so Jim made me wooden candles to put in the holders. I designed the menorah to fit on the windowsill of my office window. I played around with the design of the candle holders and my teacher helped me to get the menorah dried and fired so it would lay flat. This meant gluing on the candleholders. I didn’t bother asking about having a menorah again, I just brought it into my office and put it on the windowsill.

Menorah

Hanukkah is a celebration of a small band of Jews defeating the Syrian army. The Jews had been ruled by the king of Syria and were told to pray to the Syrian gods. So a tiny band of Jewish soldiers led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated the Syrian army. The king of Syria decided to let the Jews go back to Palestine. The Jews cleaned out the temple which had been desecrated by the Syrians and found only a small amount of oil. All Jewish temples have an eternal light, usually an electric light now. Then, the lamp was fueled by olive oil. Although the oil was only enough for one day, the oil lasted for the eight days it took the Jews to get more oil.

I think about that during Hanukkah. I think about how for nearly 6000 years, assorted groups of people have tried to remove us from the earth. Every last one of them has failed. God promised us we would never be wiped out. We are still here.

Jim decided to sort out the Tupperware in the pantry. We have a lot of Tupperware. Mostly because we had a friend who sold Tupperware. Anyway, Tupperware has a lifetime guarantee. So Jim rounded up all the dead lids to take to the Tupperware dealer yesterday. She will send them back to the company and we will get new lids.

Jim sorting Tupperware

And the result:

Pantry

We set up at the Farmers & Craft Market yesterday for the last time. We won’t be setting up again until April. January through March are difficult months here. Everyone is broke, no one has a tax refund yet, and it’s cold and windy. Once the weather warms up, we’ll set up at the market again. I ran the numbers for this year, and I made more than I thought.

I’m linking with Nina Marie here. Stop by and see what other artists have been doing. If you’re looking for unique jewelry, fiber art or photographs, please stop by my store, DebThumanArt.com here.

Author:

I retired from the Public Defender Dept. November 12, 2015 after 16 health destroying years. Now, I'm a full time multi-media artist and writer on a new adventure. As an artist, I create with beads, fabric, fiber, and ceramic clay. Sometimes separately; sometimes in assorted combinations. You can find my on-line store at: www.debthumanart.com.

2 thoughts on “The Subversive Menorah and Other Stories

  1. My late husband was Jewish. We celebrated both Christmas and Hanukkah. I still do. Our daughter still does. Our son hasn’t really settled in to a home yet…but someday. Many Christians (I know this is a broad assumption) forget that Jesus wasn’t Christian. He was a Jew. I don’t know what Hanukkah would have been like in his time…perhaps, though, under Roman rule, he and his family — like you at your office — would have had to hide signs of celebration. Blessings to you for Hanukkah. It is not a major Jewish holiday, I know, but it is a Celebration of Light — as is Christmas — and at this time of year, and especially at this time in the world, we need all the Light we can get.

    Like

    1. Many years ago, I wrote an article for AntiqueWeek about Judaic collectibles. I saw a K-rations tin with casings from bullets soldered into it. It was used by a US soldier in WWII for a menorah during Hanukkah. I once heard a rabbi explain that during times of oppression, the menorah was put in the center of the room. In times of peace/acceptance, the menorah was placed in the window. Mine is in the window and the Subversive Menorah joined me when I set up at the Farmers & Craft Market yesterday morning.

      Like

Comments are closed.