The Museum at Eldridge Street on the Lower East Side is lighting up for Hanukkah, displaying 89 historic menorahs from all over the world.
The exhibit is not just about the menorahs; it's also about the journey each Jewish artifact has made.
"It's really a special way to connect with Jewish communities. It says a lot about Jewish culture throughout the world and through time," said Chelsea Dowell, the Director of Public Engagement. "So it's more compelling than just a Hanukkah exhibit. It's really a cultural heritage moment."
One menorah with winged lions dates to the 1800s in Italy. It's believed to have been made in Venice, because the Winged Lion of St. Mark is the city's symbol.
A Holocaust survivor made a menorah, decorating it with the Statue of Liberty to represent freedom. It was lit by President Obama at the White House five years ago.
"Imagine the stories that these menorahs might tell if they could talk," said Nancy Johnson, an archivist and curator at the museum. "Each lamp has its own story, and I would encourage people to come and discover the stories that they find speaks to them."
There are menorahs from Poland, North Africa, and even India, carried by families who persevered through the Spanish Inquisition, pogroms, and the Holocaust, and by families who participated in the birth of the state of Israel.
Aharon Ben Zalman collected all of them over 30 years. But he hopes to return one to its original home. It's from a synagogue destroyed during Kristallnacht, the 1938 pogrom against Jews and Jewish businesses in Germany by the Nazis.
"There are menorahs here that talk about Jewish life in Africa and India, in places that New York might not realize have vibrant Jewish communities," Dowell said. "So it's a really exciting way to kind of expand our horizons."
The exhibition will open to the public Thursday, on the fifth night of Hanukkah, lighting four menorahs to celebrate. It will be open through the spring.