Tuesday, November 17, 2009


How do you pick a menorah you like? I googled it, and it didn't help, other than saying something like "this is usually a family heirloom, but if you want a new one, you can choose candle or oil". Gosh, thanks.

I went to Afikomen, our local judaica store, today, to search for one. They had the most incredible selection of menorahs along with everything else jewish, it just wasn't what I was looking for. (Ok, not what I wanted in my price range). J loved this one, but to me it is totally... ugg. Its two dimensional! And its PAINTED BLUE! It's PAINTED!!!!! It's one sided. It looks cheap. Can you tell I hate it? It is nothing like my idea of what a menorah or channukia IS. He also liked these little tiny ones, which seemed so... small.

Of course, I haven't got any idea what it is. I only know what it isn't. I don't even know if I want oil or candles. I've never seen an oil menorah lit. After looking at a lot of pictures, I do think I want a candle one.... plus then you have the fun of picking out nice candles. This shape without the thorns IS a menorah to me. But I'm having a hard time finding exactly the one I want. Which I suppose in some ways resembles the menorah of my childhood. And is affordable. And ideally is solid silver... ok, I'll ditch the silver for pewter or brass. Though I seriously have a thing about silver judaica. An OBSESSION about finding the PERFECT pair of silver shabbat candlesticks. The PERFECT kiddish cup (though I've learned that having many kiddish cups is a good idea.) Now is this my biggest obsession. I would say my future babies, getting married, becoming/being pregnant, becoming a midwife, other people's babies, and food, about in that order, would be my strongest obsessions at the moment. Just ask J. Still, brass or bronze or pewter feel "traditional" enough for me.

So apparently, I know exactly what kind of menorah I want, I just haven't found it yet. Much less in a brick and mortar locally owned independant store near me. *sighs.*

We did, however, pick up a kippah for J (he decided upon a larger flat black velvet 4 peice kippah. yes, I explained the... conotations. I admit, it did look very nice. And was very affordable/inexpensive). We also bought 2 benchers (b'kol echad). YAY. I will learn birkat hamazon, gosh dang it. Will J sing it with me? I don't know. We both enjoyed singing shalom aleichem together for the first time on shabbat last shabbat. It will also be fun to be able to practice saying the words so I learn it faster at other people's houses. (any good recordings to practice along with?) Also, are you supposed to say it after all meals? after shabbat and chag meals? after shabbat and yom tov meals?

I just learned the difference between chag and yom tov in my holidays class today. very fun. I'm looking forward to the class on pesach, sukkot and shavuot. Of the three, I've only really celebrated pesach, going to dinner in a few other people's sukkots this year nothing more. And pesach always always falls flat for me. I desperately want to have one of those seders that goes on all night, (in a good intellectally and spiritually stimulating way), and either I can't seem to orchestrate that, or my family isn't interested. I'm definitely looking forward to TWO seders this year, even though I haven't celebrated two days of any other holidays. One with family, and one lingering one with friends.

I may be going back to afikomen to pick up a book or two for the reading for my holiday class. (the jewish way, which I've read from the library and want a copy of my own for the class and rereading. I also really want to get seasons of our joy. It sounded really interesting as side reading though I may see if the library has it first, see if I like it.) I also want to get chanukah candles while they're still on sale. If only I knew what size I needed for my menorah. maybe they'll have some different ones then, or I'll be less overwhelmed by the LARGEST selection of judaica and jewish books I've ever seen in my ENTIRE life. It was very overwhelming. I mean, choices. Seriously? Choices? In a judaica shop? And not just 3, but 15? 40+ mezzuzahs? Overwhelming.

And yet, sometimes I felt like they didn't have what I wanted. Which admitedly, might not exist. The menorah, didn't have. I didn't fall in love with any of the prayer books that they had. (What do I want? A woman's prayerbook, with all the traditional prayers, space for writing in new ones that I invent/hear, Hebrew, transliteration, and good english translations that feel like prayer in english, but stay true to the meaning. Synogogue prayers, but also a LOT of home prayers, traditional ones for shabbat and festivals, all those blessings for various moments, and more. Not line by line translation, (since then you have to read the english backwards...!) a paperback sized or smaller hardcover, small print is ok, and only small amounts of commentary about each prayer. And instructions like "it is traditional to bow NOW in the amidah". Is that too much to ask? I'd settle for a siddur like the new machzor for the conservative movement. Have you seen it? I feel like it is the culmination of what a machzor can be. I'm in love with it. Anyways...) It was overwhelming to have so much choice. Nice, but overwhelming. And cool to see all the tallit. I look forward to picking the perfect one out when I convert (dad's jewish, ma isn't, attending a conservative synagogue, and my own choice, I will wait until I have finished my conversion to don a tallit for services. I know what I want though...).

Ok, seriously, I'm not this material minded. I could tell you all about the wonderful interesting learning filled first class in the holidays series I'm taking at shul. I have cramps and J wants to watch a movie, so I won't though.

Take care dear friend.


  1. I would love to incorporate some of the Jewish traditions into my home... particularly the celebration of Shabbat. But I wouldn't know where on earth to begin... or if I would be offending my esteemed Jewish friends by asking their help. sigh.

    Blessing to you on your journey, and may you find the most perfect Menora:)

  2. You mentioned wanting to find the perfect menorah, but still wanting it to be affordable? Well, I have no idea what they cost, but it seems that if you're going to invest in what may become an heirloom someday, or at least something you'll use your whole lifetime... paying a bit more upfront will be worth it in the end. Don't you think?

    Good luck!

  3. Hey Kristina,
    I completely agreee. In fact its an essential philosophy of mine, that if my grand-kids won't still be using it, it deserves a couple rethinks about whether I really need/want it.

    However, in the past months, I've come face to face with the frank reality that sometimes, even though I would rather spend 50 dollars instead of 20 and have something that will last generations, or whatever, there is simply NOWHERE in the budget to budge. And thats the case. Finding room for maybe 15 dollars for a menorah is something we can't really do anyways, and because it is so important to me, we were going to try.

    I'm actually of mixed feelings about our current menorah situation. We are borrowing my father's menorah (my childhood menorah, the one I was always searching for one just like it). However, the reason we can borrow his menorah is my father will be overseas for the entire holiday, which is sad. At least the silver lining is that we have another whole year to find a wonderful heirloom menorah (and I will definitely be looking around at our local artists, with less of a time crunch.) But I will miss him very much.

    persuaded, I would be happy to talk to you about celebrating shabbat, honestly, I really love it when my christian friends are interested in adopting jewish practice, as I feel it is them acknowledging their roots. I'm about to sit down to dinner, but feel free to email me specific questions, or to talk in general, at caroskis@aol.com

  4. What a doll you are! I will be emailing you later today♥
    *feeling excited!*


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