By Danielle Crittenden Frum
When Amy Reichert — an award-winning architect and one of the most original and accomplished designers of Judaica in the country — tells me she’s created something new, I get very, very excited.
By way of introduction, the Chicago-based Reichert was most recently commissioned to design all the liturgical furniture for the renovation of New York’s historical Park Avenue Synagogue — from the lamps and ark, to a suite of furniture for ritual use throughout the building.
Last week I reached out to Amy to see if she’d like to add anything to her FT&V collection in time for Hanukkah. Her “Modern Jerusalem Menorah” is a favorite all year round: the simple rectangle limestone with eight brass candle wells frequently appears on FT&V wedding gift registries. (I had to call Amy, unseasonally, in June to see if there were any menorahs in stock.) To my last email she replied that yes, she did have two new menorah designs that she would forward.
When I opened the photos, I was blown away by the exquisite beauty of her magical re-interpretation of traditional menorah design. No lined-up, melting, soldier-candles here — but golden floral holders floating in reflecting vessels of water. The concept, she says, derives from the the original temple menorah, which was made of gold, almond-blossom-shaped cups.
The new menorahs come in two versions: “Water Blossom” (at top) and “Night Blossom” (below).
The pool or water both reflects the candlelight, and provides a dramatic and clean way for the candles to sizzle out as they burn down. You can add and arrange the blossoms any way you like. Each blue ceramic dish of “Night Blossom” is handmade in Chicago by master potter Chris Busse, and vary slightly in color and shape. The menorahs make for enchanting centerpieces. They’ll bring the beauty and light of the holiday directly to your table.