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The Modern Menorah and Other Uncommonly Chic Judaica from Via Maris

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The Modern Menorah and Other Uncommonly Chic Judaica from Via Maris

October 1, 2020

My first assignment for Remodelista was writing about a minimalist menorah. That was 10 years ago, and though I’ve remained on the menorah beat ever since—see last year’s 10 Designs for Hanukkah and Beyond—the choices, from a design standpoint, have left something to be desired. I myself before signing on with Remodelista had resorted to the least baroque menorah I could find for my kids: so tiny, it’s sized for birthday candles.

Fashion publicist Dana Hollar Schwartz encountered the same dearth of options while looking for a mezuzah, the small case holding a scroll of Torah verses hung on the doorways of Jewish homes. Seeing an opportunity, Schwartz collaborated with Toronto-based designer Jamie Wolfond to come up with Via Maris, a new line of Judaica so chic it recently debuted in Vogue. Here are some highlights.

Photography by Justin Hollar, courtesy of Via Maris.

The Trace Chanukiah, $5, is made of steel and comes in five colors. It holds eight candles, one for each night of Hanukkah, but can also be used throughout the year: “We were thinking about how each item is a design piece for the home, not something that lives in a closet most of the time,” Schwartz told Vogue.
Above: The Trace Chanukiah, $155, is made of steel and comes in five colors. It holds eight candles, one for each night of Hanukkah, but can also be used throughout the year: “We were thinking about how each item is a design piece for the home, not something that lives in a closet most of the time,” Schwartz told Vogue.
The Trace Chanukiah in Sand; $5. Via Maris is named for the ancient trade route that linked Israel, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and other regions of the Middle East.
Above: The Trace Chanukiah in Sand; $155. Via Maris is named for the ancient trade route that linked Israel, Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and other regions of the Middle East.
The Block Chanukiah is made of cast aluminum; $
Above: The Block Chanukiah is made of cast aluminum; $225. “Our company was born out of a realization that it’s nearly impossible to find Jewish objects designed in the modernist tradition,” says Schwartz. “The vast majority of Judaica is baroque and impractical, making the objects difficult to connect with in a contemporary context.”
The candleholder comes in four finishes, including Midnight, all made of aluminum. A storage compartment holds 44 candles—exactly enough for the eight nights of Hanukkah.
Above: The candleholder comes in four finishes, including Midnight, all made of aluminum. A storage compartment holds 44 candles—exactly enough for the eight nights of Hanukkah.
Via Maris Chanukah Candles—available in early October—come in colors that correspond to its candleholders; $55 for a set of 45 tapers. Burning time: one hour.
Above: Via Maris Chanukah Candles—available in early October—come in colors that correspond to its candleholders; $55 for a set of 45 tapers. Burning time: one hour.
The steel Rest Candleholder, $85, in Cloud. &#8
Above: The steel Rest Candleholder, $85, in Cloud. “Every Friday night before sundown, millions of Jews around the world follow the ancient ritual of lighting Shabbat candles,” explains Schwartz. “The ceremony is to celebrate the traditional day of rest, which lasts from sunset to sunset.”
The piece that inspired the collection, the 4.7-inch steel Shelter Mezuzah, $75, is for hanging on doorways &#8
Above: The piece that inspired the collection, the 4.7-inch steel Shelter Mezuzah, $75, is for hanging on doorways “to celebrate our dwellings,” says Schwartz. (Watch my favorite television series, Shtisel, and you see a lot of mezuzahs—they’re customarily touched every time someone enters a room.) Mezuzah containers hold mezuzah scrolls, handmade, in this case, “in Israel by a woman named Hanna.”

Browse the Remodelista Candles & Holders archives for more of our favorites.

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