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Jewish Journal

This Menorah is a Gas

by Dani Kollin

December 21, 2011 | 10:07 am

And it never runs out of oil!

My wife forwarded me this incredible image of a gas pump menorah. I decided to track down the artist, Jeffrey Schrier and get his take on the unusual creation:

My dad and uncle had a gas station and garage business together, Sol and Joe’s Service in Cleveland Heights.  Between the two families there were (are) six boys who as teens saving for college, all pumped gas for customers and helped to fuel and park in the garage, the enormous busses of their largest client, the Cleveland Hebrew Academy. I still recall pumping gas through the heavy aluminum gas pump nozzles gripped at hip height for a largely Jewish clientele often seen at Temple gatherings. In my childhood home there were two 1920’s torchier lamps handed down from my baube Anna.  They had tiers of greenish agate set into heavy, ornate metalwork for the bases. 

I felt so at home with making an assemblage menorah that expresses the transmission of memory and heritage from generation to generation (Dorv’dor), as I combined gas nozzles with an old, ornate lamp base.  The old lamp base I used was cast with three lions, easily interpreted as Lions of Judah. The fuel nozzles are of the kind used on kibbutz in the 1960’s to transfer fuel from large tanks on trucks to farm equipment. Covenant through brit milah was present in my thinking when I elected to use gas nozzles as a primary source material for a body of new works.  “Don’t let the lights go out they’ve lasted for so many years….”:  We are hugely concerned about wether the stores of oil that rest underground will be able to support our ever enlarging global needs, and so far, for nearly a century many of us have had the privilege of having our lives illuminated by the miracle of oil. How long will the oil last?  This assemblage fits with my compulsion for incorporating unusual materials into my work. Check out what I’ve been doing at www.wingsofwitness.org  and other ways I recycle for my art.

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