An electrician turned Judaica artist has fused function and art in the cause of enhancing Jewish ritual, creating a three-foot tall copper-pipe menorah as an encore to his 12-sided sukkah. The menorah, like the sukkah, was erected for the Yavneh Minyan and Shulamith School for Girls in Flatbush.
“It’s very nice and very big,” said Rabbi Shmuel Klammer, Shulamith head of school, a resident of Woodmere and member of Congregation Aish Kodesh.
Gideon Gur Aryeh “decided that copper pipes would work best for the design he had in mind,” his wife Bina told The Jewish Star. “He figured out how to bend the pipes and create just the right angles. He welded the parts and spray painted the finished product.”
A large blue painted copper pipe Magen David holds the shamash light in the center and ties the menorah together, flanked by four gleaming copper pipes on each side. Each of the eight intricately bent pipes has a glass oil cup seated on top with a metal housing inside to hold the wick. The cups are filled with olive oil — about 1/8 of a cup each night — and Gideon hand twists the cotton wicks to fit them into the metal housing in each cup. The lamps burn for three to four hours, Bina said.
The battle cry of the Maccabim, “Mi La’Hashem alai” (“Whoever is for G-d, come with me!”) is inscribed in blue letters on a white background on the base of the menorah.
Rabbi Klammer said Aryeh’s sukkah has a big impact on the school.
Aryeh “takes pride in his work — his excitement is contagious,” Klammer said. “He cares about the kids, not just his project, and his wife participates, too — it’s a family event.”
“The menorah is the product of Gideon’s dream to bring enjoyment by creating unusual artworks,” explained Bina.
“Most people are in awe of the menorah and admire his artistic abilities. Right now, he’s talking about creating individual small menorahs and, possibly, a new design for a sukkah.”