Silver Hanukah lamp, known as the Lindo Lamp, 1709
London Jewish Museum, London
If all goes according to plan, it's 3:55 PM in the United Kingdom and the sun has just set over the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, marking the start of what I like to call Universal Coordinated Hanukkah. Or Hanukah, as the fine folks at the London Jewish Museum seem to call it. Regardless how you choose to spell it: Happy Hanukkah!
What you see above is the Lindo lamp, the earliest known English Hanukkah lamp, created in 1709 by silversmith John Ruslen for the marriage of Elias Lindo, a prominent member of the Iberian Jewish community in London, to Rachel Lopes Ferreira. The image depicted on the lamps is that of the prophet Elijah being fed by ravens in the wilderness. (A story that can be found in 1 Kings 17: "Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: 'Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.' So he did what the LORD had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.")
Strictly speaking, the Lindo lamp is not part of the collection of the London Jewish Museum; it has been on loan to the museum by the family that owns it since the 1930s. Last year, the owners announced that they wanted to sell it, and set a price of £300,000 for the museum. Last I heard, they were working to raise the last £50,000 they need to buy it.
Previous Advent posts:
2003: Today the Virgin
2004: Christmas Greetings 1940
2006: Advent started Dec. 3
2007: Advent started Dec. 2
2008: Winter Wonderland
2009: mary's dream