Shabbat Candlestick Holders

The Candlesticks
The Candlesticks

I went to my Grandma Shelly for help with this project, as she is the only person in my family with extensive collections of our ancestors' belongings. Grandma Shelly's house is a cornucopia of old objects she could not bring herself to throw away. She gave me a lengthy list of items to use for my project like my great-grandmother's baby shoes, opera glasses, and a glass tea set from Russia. Yet, the final item she showed me was the perfect item- her Shabbat candlesticks. I recognized it from High Holiday celebrations, and my father remembered it from Shabbat dinners from his childhood. Every Friday night, my grandfather lights candles that sit proudly in the candlesticks that were bequeathed to him by his parents. His grandparents used the same candlesticks on Shabbat and for the Jewish High Holidays. They belonged to my third great-grandmother Esther, dating back to the 1890s from England. As their brass frames wear down and their color fades, the candlesticks show the face of time. They have been held by many hands and have traveled many parts of the world; yet, they have always served the purpose of holding up the light to let us see through the darkness of the night, guiding generations of Jews besieged by anti-semitism and pogroms toward our faith and resiliency. The sturdiness and longevity of the candlesticks are symbolic of my Jewish heritage, which traversed the Atlantic Ocean and have been passed down for hundreds of years. The Zwerling family has used these candlesticks for over 50 years and we hope they will be used for 50 more. 

Place(s): England, New York

– Ellen Zwerling

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more