My Favorite Menorah

Wine bottle + paper towel tube + plastic forks + rag scraps + glue + glitter = Happy Chanuakkah Y’all!

For an old wine bottle and paper towel tube, this menorah is pretty darn snazzy, not to mention ancient.

Out of my many menorahs, this one is by far my favorite. It’s an arts and crafts project from Ms. Finson’s 4th grade classroom. Yes, a classroom. Yes, a menorah in a public school classroom.*

* If that statement is controversial enough to get your girdle in a bunch, you should probably stop reading this before I get to the corn husk angels and Baby Jesus in a walnut shell. GASP!

Even back then it was unusual for a public school teacher to encourage kids to make religious objects, but Ms. Finson wouldn’t hear of it. She was 24, fresh out of the peace corps and didn’t take crap from anyone. She was a devout Christian, raised by Baptist missionaries in Equador and could quote the bible like it was a party game. She wore embroidered vests and let us listen to Marvin Gaye music at lunch time. She was cool.

Regardless of her own faith, she recognized there were a couple Jewish kids in the class who felt a little neglected around the holidays. It’s not like anyone complained, but after all the years of making mangers and angel ornaments, Ms. Finson recognized the need for change. Diversity is a good thing.

Lo, the wine bottle menorah was born!

Parents gave her flack. They didn’t like their kids making other people’s religious symbols or taking empty booze bottles on the school bus. Good arguments, to be sure, but Ms. Finson shut them up right quick by quoting some bible passage about Jesus celebrating Chanuakkah with a menorah and wine and spicy velveta dip or some business like that. I don’t really remember. All I know is that I made two mental notes; 1. Jesus was Jewish, and 2. Adults are far too easily impressed by people who can directly quote fancy words from fancy books. Guess that’s why attorneys get paid so much.

I could make a lawyer joke right now, but in the spirit if the season, I’ll pass.

If you want to make a wine bottle menorah of your own, just make some holes and slits in a paper towel tube and insert it over the neck of a wine bottle. As I recall, we covered the hole thing with scraps from a rag bag dipped in starch (I think this lovely striped piece was a man’s shirt at one point). The forks were originally cafeteria sporks with red tissue paper, but they got lost years ago and are now been replaced with glittered orange forks. The forks can be inserted and removed same as real candles. The shamash in the middle is inserted in a cork. Easy peazy and it stores nicely.

School crafts usually fall apart or get thrown out with January garbage, but this one is a keeper. Its been on display right next to an expensive store-bought menorah that no one ever notices…everyone asks about this menorah. Where did it come from? How did you make it? Can I play with the forks?

Kids and adults enjoy it equally. I enjoy it too. I love it. It’s my favorite.


  1. says

    Snazzy! And hysterical. The orange sporks are…I have no words. I really, really hope that’s a bottle of Mogen David Boysenberry wine under there. But seriously, what a nice teacher! Hooray for Ms. Finson.

  2. Jills says

    very cute. I can imagine you making that as a kid.
    lets see some more!

  3. says

    Ms. Finson is my hero, and you made me laugh so hard that I couldn’t read my mom your comment about the spicy velveeta dip! Heeheeehee! I married a nice Jewish boy, was raised Christian, now I’m a “Jew by choice”, but secretly I want to be Mormon with less kids and more coffee!! Can’t wait to catch up on your blog!

  4. Holly says

    Jesus and velveeta dip *snort*

  5. says

    BRILLIANT! I arrived here this morning via Creative Jewish Mom. Now I am stepping into the WABAC Machine to read your earlier posts.

  6. says

    Yup, there was definitely some Velveeta action in there somewhere.

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