New York, NY – The eight day holiday of Hanukkah begins at sundown on Wednesday, November 27th. The Jewish Museum’s Hanukkah app, which debuted in 2012 and has now been expanded, is available for free in the App Store and on Google Play. The app is perfect for those without a menorah, travelers, students, or anyone seeking a flexible, fun way to mark the holiday.
Light My Fire: A Hanukkah App allows users to select a contemporary or traditional Hanukkah lamp from the Museum’s renowned collection, choose a unique background to place it on, light the lamp, and then share it with their family and friends. This year users can also upload their own photo as a background. There is a choice of twenty-six lamps from eleven different countries, representing four centuries of artistic production, and nineteen backgrounds from the traditional to whimsical, including a window sill, Jerusalem, a moonscape, a turkey (for Thanksgivukkah), and more. Users can save the lamps they choose to their very own collection. The app also provides options to access blessings in English, Hebrew, and transliterated Hebrew; lighting the menorah instructions; holiday information; and background details on menorahs in general as well as each Hanukkah lamp pictured.
Light My Fire: A Hanukkah App requires iOS 5.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5. New this year is a version for Android users requiring Android 2.3 and up.
Located at 1109 Fifth Avenue at the corner of East 92nd Street in New York City, The Jewish Museum is the preeminent museum in the United States devoted to art and Jewish culture, and has the finest, largest and most comprehensive collection of Hanukkah lamps in the world. The lamps featured in the app come from Austria, Germany, Italy, Poland, Russia, Eastern Europe, Morocco, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Israel, and the United States. Materials range from the traditional copper, silver, and brass but also include ceramic, silicone, stainless steel, and one using souvenir Statues of Liberty. Hanukkah lamps have often been produced using fantastical designs and shapes. Four major design categories are represented in the Museum’s collection, including Jewish heroes and heroines (like Judith), architectural elements, animals (like the lion), and plants. The lamps incorporate Jewish symbols and secular motifs common in the decorative arts from the Renaissance to the present.
The menorah, also called a Hanukkah lamp, is a special object used in the eight-day ceremony of Hanukkah. It holds eight lights – typically candles or small cups of oil – as well as a ninth, the shamash. The shamash is used not only to kindle the lamp, but to provide light so that one does not use the sacred Hanukkah lights for illumination.
The joyous nature of the holiday has led over the centuries to a profusion of imaginative lamp shapes and decorations, serious or whimsical: biblical figures, characters from popular culture, buildings, exuberant flowers or exotic animals. Each lamp reflects the interactions between artistic expression, Jewish traditions, historic and geographic influences, and personal experience. Local styles and motifs may be seen in many of the lamps and show the great diversity of places that Jews have settled and flourished.
The festival of Hanukkah commemorates an ancient victory for religious freedom – the reestablishment of Jewish worship in the Temple in Jerusalem in 164 BCE. According to legend, a miracle occurred as the Jews gave thanks for divine intervention. A one-day supply of consecrated oil necessary for worship burned for eight days, enough time to create more oil. Hanukkah celebrates freedom and the blessing of miracles, and the tradition of kindling the festival lights continues to have profound meaning around the world.
This Hanukkah app has been developed by Franklyn LLC for The Jewish Museum.
Light My Fire: A Hanukkah App is made possible by the Martin and Doris Payson Fund for Film and Media. Special thanks to Jonathan and Darcie Crystal for their inspiration and guidance.
Image: Hanukkah Lamp, Miss Liberty by Mae Rockland Tupa, Princeton, NJ, 1974, in front of an image of a turkey. EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: IMAGES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.
Anne Scher, Molly Kurzius, or Alex Wittenberg
The Jewish Museum
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