A few days before the eve of Hanukkah, educational website developer Jacob Richman was sitting with a friend and discussing the upcoming holiday. “He asked me if I know about the chanukiyot [Hanukkah menorah] collection in the Bukharim neighborhood in Jerusalem. I said: ‘I never heard of it’. He said: ‘You must go see it’. He gave me instructions on how to get there and he said he would call the owner to expect me”.

What Richman found in Shkhunat HaBukharim — Jerusalem’s Bukharim quarter, first settled by immigrants from Bukhara (now Uzbekistan) — was a huge and eclectic collection of Hanukkah menorahs spanning different eras and Jewish communities.

The collector, Shabtay Yossef, keeps the collection above his hardware store. Richman says. “He probably has one of the largest chanukiyot collections in the world. He has chanukiyot from 75 countries.”

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Richman’s reaction to seeing the collection was a clearly understandable “Wow”.

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Hanukkah menorahs of all shapes and sizes…

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Hanukkah menorahs made of inlaid wood…

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Collapsible antique travel Hanukkah menorahs…

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One from Greece shaped like a sailing ship…

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Another from Yemen, crafted out of simple stone…

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Antique Hanukkah menorahs…

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Modern ones from the State of Israel’s early days…

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And many, many more.

Richman spent two days taking hundreds of photos of some though not all of Yossef’s collection. The pictures are posted online, along with his account of the visit.

“I was torn between hearing more stories and wanting to take as many photos as possible. He needed to go back to the front of the store but he let me stay in the back room to take photos. I took photos for 1 hour until closing and I came back the next day.”

“I could not take photos of all the chanukiyot, it was just too many”.

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No doubt, Richman will be back.

In addition to writing about his visit, Richman found and posted an item by French-language news organization La Matinale about Shabtay Yossef’s collection.

Jacob Richman is the founder of Computer Jobs in Israel (CJI), the country’s longest-running high-tech job board which has been running since 1993. He is also a social media consultant and educational website developer. In honor of the holiday, he has posted a Chanukah Page that includes lessons, videos, songs, English-Hebrew vocabulary lists, humor, games, recipes, photos and clip-art about Hanukkah, as well as a map to Maccabean sites in Israel. For more information: http://www.jr.co.il/

To make an appointment to see the Hanukkah menorah collection, visit their Facebook page.

All photographs courtesy of Jacob Richman.