Navigate to News section

In Ukraine, Discovering A Special Menorah

This week in Jewcy, our partner site

The Editors
December 14, 2012

Each Friday we bring you a look at what’s going on over at, our partner site. This week, an American Jew living in Ukraine comes across an antique menorah and feels an unexpected connection with the familiar Jewish object:

Wrapped in brown paper, the menorah lay on its side on the table. The metal was oxidized green with age, but beneath the patina, the Hebrew words lehadlik ner Hanukkah could be made out—to light the Hanukkah candles, the blessing you make before lighting the candles. A lion—symbol of the city of Lviv—reared on spindly legs in its center, holding up the shamash, and a row of oil wells held the remains of charred, degraded wicks. The vendor set his jaw and prepared for a long haggle. I opened my wallet, but to my dismay, I only had a few bedraggled hryvnia (the Ukrainian currency) with me. I had to leave without the menorah—and by the time I managed to find an ATM, the market was closed, the tables packed away. I hadn’t even caught the vendor’s name.

I left the city that weekend feeling like I’d left a friend in captivity. Weeks after my return to Kiev, the menorah still haunted me. Who was it taken from? Who last lit it, and when? The spindly lion, the bent shamash, returned to me again and again. So when I returned to Lviv on a rainy weekend, I knew I had to try my hardest to find it. Hanukkah, after all, was less than a month away.

Read the rest here.

From the editors of Tablet Magazine.