Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Hanukkah from the Trenches

So much for this amazingly original trench art Hanukkah Menorah I found on eBay. There’s another exactly like this one, written up here, and yet another just like it in the book "From the Secular to the Sacred: Everyday Objects in Jewish Ritual Use" by the Israel Museum.

“Trench art,” as it turns out, is a tricky business. It’s hard to know whether the our Menorah was a microtrend, as in “I’ve got this rifle butt--hey, I think I’ll make one of those nifty menorahs I just saw Ari make,” or if it is of the “mass produced” variety. By that I mean “Yossi, bring me as many rifle butts as you can get your hands on. Tourists are buying them faster than I can turn them out.”

Here’s how Wikipedia presents the subject of trench art:
To the uninitiated, all trench art, by definition, was made by a soldier sitting in a trench in France during the First World War, in the midst of a bombardment. To the cynics, it was all made in the 1920s by enterprising French and Belgian citizens. The reality is, naturally, a mix of these extremes, and everything in between, and spans conflicts from the Napoleonic Wars to the present day.

In the realm of Judaica, the Menorah might be the only ritual object for which a gun is actually appropriate, as Hanukkah is the only ancient Jewish holiday to commemorate Jews battling their enemies. If you are not familiar with those guerilla warriors who took back the Temple, read about the macho Maccabees here.

Here's to repurposing all guns! Wishing a peaceful, light-filled holiday to all.

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