RECOMMENDED: Guide to Hanukkah in NYC
Hanukkah may not begin for two more weeks (the official start is at sundown on December 1), but the Jewish Museum invites visitors to mark the occasion a bit early with the debut of its latest exhibit, "A Hanukkah Project: Daniel Libeskind's Line of Fire," opening Friday 19. The show is a collaboration between the museum and famed architect Daniel Libeskind, whose projects include the master plan for the new World Trade Center; for this installation, Libeskind worked with Susan Braunstein, the museum's curator of archaeology and Judaica, to commemorate those eight crazy nights. "Hanukkah is a celebration of freedom," says Libeskind. "[It's] a 2,000-year-old expression of the Jewish will to live in liberation from oppression." A 32-foot-long, bright-red pedestal that looks like a jagged lightning bolt anchors the exhibit; it also represents the titular line of fire, and is a motif that appears throughout Libeskind's body of work (his design for the Jewish Museum in Berlin incorporates a similar shape). The platform holds 40 menorahs from the museum's extensive collection (which were chosen by Braunstein), dating as far back as the 17th century. For the architect, whose family emigrated to the U.S. from Poland after World War II, the exhibit symbolizes the conviction of the Jewish people to continue in the face of hardship. "The zigzags make up a line that moves across many difficulties and obstacles and in unexpected ways, but ultimately is always directed to the ideal of human dignity," he explains. Visitors are invited to walk around and examine each lamp closely, enjoying a more intimate experience than simply looking at pieces behind glass. "[People will] almost feel like they can lift the menorahs up and put them on their windowsills," says Libeskind. Find out the stories behind four of our favorites.
LIGHT THE CANDLES! "A Hanukkah Project: Daniel Libeskind's Line of Fire": thejewishmuseum.org). Mon, Tue, Sat, Sun 11am–5:45pm; Thu 11am–8pm; Fri 11am–4pm. $12, seniors $10, students $7.50, children under 12 free. Nov 19–Jan 30., 1109 Fifth Ave at 92nd St (212-423-3200,