This menorah belonged to my great grandparents. The origins of the menorah are unknown, although my grandfather says he remembers it from when he was growing up, making it over 80 years old. The menorah, a seven-branched candelabrum, is one of the oldest symbols of the Jewish faith. A Chanukah menorah, like the one my great grandparents passed down, contains nine-branches because Chanukah celebrates one day’s worth of oil lasting eight days, hence eight days of Chanukah and eight candles (excluding the Shamash).
Religion serves as a culturing factor and I was not raised in a religious household. While my Jewish mother and Catholic father celebrated the major religious holidays, I was not exposed to any sort of religious education, either from my parents or from religious institutions. Because I do not observe any religion, I can say that while this object has familial significance, it bears me no religious significance. In other words, while I greatly respect the fact that this menorah belonged to my ancestors and will be passed down in my small family until it inevitably reaches me, the soul heir, I will not use it for religious purposes like my family before me. While I remember celebrating Chanukah as a child, the cultural customs surrounding my family’s menorah will unfortunately be lost; however, it will become a symbol, both of my family’s history, and its endurance.
– Phil Laudo