Once upon a time, back when my mother had newly converted, and we were still attempting to accumulate all the judaica we needed to set up a ceremonially functioning Jewish household, my mother bought this beautiful menorah. No, seriously, it was gorgeous, very aesthetically pleasing, unfortunately. Each candle is held by a replica of a synagogue destroyed by the Nazis.
Now the last thing I want to think about during one of the few almost unshadowed holidays Judaism has is the Shoah. Really, no. This menorah became legendary among my Jewish friends in high school, in a sort of "Oh how was your Hanukkah?" "Well, my mom brought out the Holocaust menorah again," kind of way. The sociologist in me wants to say that I bonded with my fellow Jewish kids, and affirmed my Jewishness by talking anout having the kind of quirky Jewish mother who had a Holocaust menorah. I'll leave it to you to decide if that's what I'm doing now.
Anyway, ever since my mother bought the thing, I've been plotting its demise. First I tried to reason with Mom, by explaining to her just how horrifying it is, but sadly, she has remained intractable. In addition, each year, I have attempted to replace the Holocaust menorah, including one year when I made a confection of copper and brass wire that I still consider the single best example of my wirework. [link]
That thing nearly killed me, literally, as I developed an asthmatic reaction to copper while making it, and really, that should have been enough right? No. Mom loves it. She says it's too pretty to use, she doesn't want to ruin it.
So at that point, grinding my teeth, I was almost ready to conceed defeat. But not quite. Sadly my grandmother caught me trying to lose it during the move, but I have other similarly ethically dubious tricks up my sleeve. This year I may or may not have hidden the Holocaust menorah in an undisclosed location, and while my mother is out of town visiting her father, put up every single other menorah we have, which given that I tried for ten years to replace my mother's inexplicably beloved Holocaust menorah, is kind of a lot of menorahs. I think I've done it this time. We'll find out when Mom comes home Friday. Wish me luck.