I Obtained My Menorah 80% Off at CB2 and It Is Considered one of My Prized Possessions


Let me take you again to an period that as I write this in November of 2021, feels about as historical because the occasions of the Maccabees. It was September 2019. I had simply moved in with my then-girlfriend (now fiancée) Amanda to an house in Brooklyn, and by December, we had sorted by way of all of the issues we had doubles of and had an inventory of what we had been lacking. And I noticed I didn’t have a menorah.

If I needed some Judaica, I may completely go get it. My dad’s home was (and is) chock-a-block with Jewish stuff: prayer books, seder plates, Shabbat candles, kippot from hundreds of bar mitzvahs. He would have a spare.

However none of that stuff felt prefer it might be mine. The rise of antisemitism through the Trump years, punctuated by the lethal 2018 assault at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, made me wish to be extra outspokenly and outwardly Jewish, however perhaps not within the conventional and explicitly Zionist methods I had grown up with. I needed a lightweight in my window, however one thing that I had chosen to signify me and my Jewishness.

Night time considered one of Hanukkah 2019 rolls round. I had purchased a ton of potatoes to make latkes (pro-tip: use the meat grinder attachment on a KitchenAid for additional fluffiness!) and remembered that my grandma advised me how of us on the Decrease East Facet within the Nineteen Fifties would make potatoes into makeshift menorahs. Amanda popped some holes right into a uncooked spud with a metallic straw and dropped the candles in, and it labored fairly okay. An Idaho menorah. I figured if a miracle occurred, it’d be alright for the subsequent seven nights.

The following day, Amanda and I discovered ourselves in Decrease Manhattan, ready to seize dim sum with a buddy. We stopped into CB2 to heat up and take a look at furry blankets and outsized pillows we may by no means afford. Sitting alone, on an errant bar cart within the nook of the showroom, was this burnished mod menorah. The bottom appeared just like the define of a brick wall, however as a substitute of cement between the bricks, it was filled with gold. And sitting on the highest, like a bow on a gift, was an 85 % off coupon. I wanted it, if solely to inform Twitter, “lol I obtained a menorah on sale, feels dangerous however I prefer it!”

The following seven nights, the menorah glowed within the window. I felt proud about having a lightweight within the window dealing with the road, one thing Jewish that I chosen.

The following yr, Hanukkah 2020, we had been locked down due to the pandemic. Daily since mid-March had felt precisely the identical because the one earlier than. As summer season had become fall, we tried to make Rosh Hashanah, Halloween, and Thanksgiving really feel particular, however each time we ended up videochatting with family members speaking about how bizarre every little thing felt. However Hanukkah felt like a vacation that we may have a good time like we did earlier than the pandemic. We may ship presents to our family members, cook dinner up latkes, and lightweight the menorah. Wait… do I even have a kind of?

Amanda pulled our discounted menorah from the closet the place we’d stashed it the yr earlier than. Due to the stress, isolation, and depth of the pandemic yr we’d simply had, it had brined into one thing particular. It was our menorah, our souvenir. It was a alternative I had made to cement my Jewishness, and now it was part of our house.

We lit the candles each night time final yr, virtually in defiance of lockdown and the antisemitism that had been allowed to flourish.

As Hanukkah 2021 arrives, I’m able to deliver out my discounted menorah. After all, by the third yr, it isn’t “the low cost menorah” anymore. It’s my household’s heirloom, the menorah from the pandemic, the one within the Brooklyn house window that burned by way of the darkness.

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