In Service of Light
PHOTO BY NICK ZACHARIAS
This sculpture, which also serves as a menorah, stands outside Hudson’s Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre was crafted by Marcel Braitstein and the public is invited to attend the lighting of the first Chanukah candle December 22 from 5 to 6 p.m.
Included in the Town of Hudson Festival of Light is a sculpture-candle by local artist Marcel Braitstein. Translated from Hebrew the word ‘Shammash’ means a servant-flame. The sole purpose of the flame is instigating other flames. Symbolically, Braitstein’s sculpture titled Shammash2019 represents the servant-candle whose only job this holiday season is to ignite the eight lights of the menorah, which means candelabra in English.
A shammash candle is no stranger to the citizens of Hudson. It came to Hudson in 2011 as one part of a Chanukah menorah. Its arrival in Hudson was as the centrepiece of the first municipal public Chanukah menorah to be lit in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region.
Last year Marcel Braitstein was invited by Mayor Jamie Nicholls to create a special Chanukah menorah for the Town of Hudson. Shammash2019 is Braitstein’s unique contribution, whereas the balance of the menorah that consists of eight lights divided between two wings, is a collaborative addition he did with welder-designer Heather Ball
Shammash2019 is the transformation of a sculpture that Braitstein originally created for the gardens at Gannaiden, a local property where nature reigns supreme. This is why the structure depicts a giant flower interwoven with birds and vines and is weighted to the ground by a base of chains.
While waiting around for the other eight lights to arrive on December 22, the first night of Chanukah, Braitstein felt honoured that Shammash2019 was included in the Town of Hudson’s Festival of Lights celebration.
“Shammash2019 aspires to bring a brighter tomorrow,” said Braitstein. “Light defuses darkness,” he concluded.
“For over 45 years Hudsonites have embraced the Braitstein and Steinberg families,” said Elaine Steinberg, local historian and wife of Braitstein. “Shammash2019 illuminates the affection felt toward a community that has and continues to share socio-ethical values. Braitstein’s sculpture also serves as an archive of their ‘Family of Friends’ and, in the broader story, Shammash2019 signals the presence of heritage as an ongoing conversation on The History of the Jewish people in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region, Hudson included.
Please join us December 22 between 5 and 6 p.m. for the Chanukah l’chiam celebration - a cheer to light and life at the Stephen F. Shaar Community Centre, 394 Main Road, Hudson