Favorite thing #3

But not that these are in any particular order. This follows the previous one only because of the design.

I told you that there was a back story to our kiddush cup, having to do with one of our menorahs. Well, it actually has to do with one that I had bought before we were married, when I was looking around for things to buy in Jerusalem and found this.

I liked it. I was drawn to it, but I could not explain even today why. I can just say that I love/loved the use of the symbolism and its Art Deco style.

If I were really clever, I would also post another photo of the kiddush cup, the other side, for on it, it says the same thing that is engraved on the bottom of this menorah–Betzalel Yerushalayim.

This refers to the art school Bezalel in Jerusalem. I’ll let my friends at Wikipedia tell you a little about it.

The Bezalel school was an art movement in Palestine in the late Ottoman and British Mandate periods. Named for the Bezalel Art School, predecessor of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, it has been described as “a fusion of ‘oriental’ art and Jugendstil.”[1]

The Bezalel school artists blended “varied strands of surroundings, tradition and innovation,” in paintings and craft objects that invokes “biblical themes, Islamic design and European traditions,” in their effort to“carve out a distinctive style of Jewish” art for the new nation they intended to build in the ancient Jewish homeland.[2] The works of art created by the group contributed significantly to the creation of a distinctive Israeli national culture. [3]

One of the artists mentioned in the group is Ze’ev Raban. Let’s look at his entry a bit, shall we?

Raban easily navigated a wealth of artistic sources and mediums, borrowing and combining ideas from East and West, fine arts and crafts from past and present. His works blended European neoclassicism, Symbolist art and Art Nouveau with oriental forms and techniques to form a distinctive visual lexicon. Versatile and productive, he lent this unique style to most artistic mediums, including the fine arts, illustration, sculpture, repousee, jewellery design, and ceramics.”[4]

Raban also designed a wide range of Jewish objects, including Hanukkah menorahs, temple windows, and Torah arks.

In fact, if you think back to how Hanukkah candles used to be packaged, you’ll remember (if you are of a certain age and ethnicity, that is) this:

By Ze’ev Raban, of course. Notice the little symbols on the right? Same style, for sure.

And the birkonim that we had bought when we first got married, also with artwork by him.

And our kiddush cup.

But I didn’t put this together for the longest time.

My FIL actually was the one who made it happen, not because he noticed it but because he bound a book for Yeshiva University Museum called

and we looked inside the book.

Wow. That’s the guy who designed all of this stuff!

And…

There’s my menorah.

Now you might notice that mine has a little difference at the top from say,  this one.

So mine isn’t perfect.

But it’s mine.

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