Each evening, after work, I have been rushing home to see if the invitation has arrived from the White House to the White House Hanukkah Party on December 16. It hasn’t. Don’t they know I post on Jewlicious and produce Schmoozedance? No, I have no plans to crash it, cuz I have no reality-tv dreams, nor was I ever a Redskins cheerdancer.
Another reason why I should get an invite is that The FLOTUS, First Lady Michelle Obama, has selected a menorah to be used for the occasion from the Czech Republic’s Jewish Museum of Prague. And I am a grandson, a landsman, of this area.
The menorah hails from the Moravian town of ProstÄ›jov (also known as Prossnitz) (make a right at Brno and drive for 45 minutes). Jews resided in the city for over 500 years, and in the 19th Century, this town manufactured perhaps a third of the clothes for that part of of the Austro Hungarian Empire. The silver menorah was created in 1873 by Viennese silversmith Cyril Schillberger. It is shaped in the Gothic Revival style and was donated to a synagogue by the children of Gabriel and Pearl Spitzer in 1873 (no relation to the former NY Governor). Gabriel Spitzer was the son of Rabbi P T Spitzer. It is embellished with an ogee arch (found in Persian or Gothic design), pinnacles, and traceries (also characteristic of Gothic design) which is a rarity, since so much more of Jewish ceremonial pieces were done in the Neo-Baroque style. There is also a medallion garlanded with two olive branches held on each side by a lion and topped with a crown of the Torah. It has an acrostic (since it was dedicated in 5’633) from the fifth stanza of Lekha dodi (Rise up and shine, for your light has come.)
The First Lady has a good eye for ceremonial objects, having noticed it on a trip to Prague. Fletcher alum and former journalist Mary Thompson-Jones, who is the current Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Prague is expressing the menorah to the White House in time for the Simcha. So…, White House, rise up and shine, and mail me an invite. I am willing to stand in the kitchen with Axelrod and fry latkes all night.