From JArtsPromoted

8 Hanukkah lamps, 8 international female artists

Join us December 1 for an evening of Hanukkah performance and light. Watch live >

Since 2015, the Jewish Arts Collaborative (JArts™️), a Boston-based non-profit, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston have teamed up to bring thousands of people together to celebrate Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The pandemic pushed the 2020 celebration online, and the program was viewed by more than 20,000 people worldwide. With the audience hungry for more, access to one of the greatest Judaica collections in an American encyclopedic museum, and a roster of incredible talent, JArts and the MFA, Boston joined forces with the JCC Association of North America and the JFest program this year to create an online program to delight and surprise audiences as global as the performers.

With virtual programming lending itself perfectly to exploring objects from the MFA’s extensive Judaica collection and enabling us to bring performers “together” from across the world in one program, this years’ event features a beautiful and creative breadth of the Jewish experience.

These eight leading female creatives each tell their own story of Hanukkah, light, community, and art– each inspired by, and in dialogue with, a Hanukkah lamp from the MFA’s Judaica collection, a gift of Charles and Lynn Schusterman.

Here is a taste of what you will see on December 1, as explained to us by Simona Di Nepi, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Curator of Judaica:

Singer Liora Isaac, chart topping Israeli radio star, is one of 85,000 Jews of Indian origin in Israel. Liora was inspired by an Indian brass lamp, shaped as a star of David which is typical of Indian communities. Her festive song “Maala Maala,” in Hebrew meaning “higher higher”, will get you into the Hanukkah spirit.

Moroccan Israeli singer and visual artist Neta Alkayam will be inspired by an intricate Moroccan pierced silver lamp with a floral design, characteristic of Islamic art. The New York Times says that Neta “Bridges Time, Distance and Distrust, With Music.” Her deeply spiritual voice, and the Judeo-Moroccan dialect she sings in, opens for us the rich world of North African Jews she descends from.

Jackie Brazvi, founder of Mizrachi Dance Archive, will be inspired by another rebellious lady, Judith- the biblical heroine who cut the head of general Holophernes. While Jackie’s family originates in Iraq, and she dances to traditional North African music, she chose this German lamp because she aims to embody the fierceness of Judith.

A bronze Italian Hanukkiah, based on a Renaissance 16th century example is our excuse to virtually taste the delicious Jewish flavours of Italy with cook and author Silvia Nacamulli. In her cooking demonstration, Silvia will teach us to prepare precipizi a traditional Hanukkah dessert from the city of Ancona, Italy.

For a striking modernist silver lamp, made in 1960s New York by revolutionary designer Ludwig Wolpert, Boston-based Judaica artist Cynthia Eid, will discuss connections to her own contemporary work that is on display in a different MFA, Boston gallery.

Made 100 years ago by Yemenite silversmith Yehia Yemini, using the traditional techniques from his country, his embossed silver Hanukkah lamp features the scene of the purification of the ancient Temple of Jerusalem- the central episode of the Hanukkah story. This work is a perfect pairing for Tair Haim, the Israeli musician who sings traditional Jewish Yemenite tunes she learnt from her grandmother, and co-founder of global sensation A-WA.

Boston-based choreographer and dancer Rachel Linsky has choreographed a piece inspired by the Garden of Lights lamp, a gift to the MFA by artist Linda Threadgill, whose love of flowers and plants clearly transpires in her creations. Rachel’s response is a beautifully recorded dance piece performed in the gardens at Elm Bank, the home of Massachusetts Horticultural Society.

Sarah Aroeste writes and sings in Ladino, the Spanish-Jewish dialect that Jews took with them from Spain after the expulsion in 1492, to many countries, including Greece, where Sarah’s family’s roots are. Sarah is inspired by a small lamp, a modern version of medieval lamps from Spain, designed as a European cathedral. Sarah also has a new Hanukkah album out this week, check it out!

Log on and join us and these eight women for this unique and meaningful evening celebrating the joy, light, and resilience of Hanukkah.

Streaming on the JArts and MFA Facebook and YouTube pages. Register at On view December 1 beginning at 6:00 PM ET. You will receive information and a link prior to the event.

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