One of the questions people ask us about our project is why build a series of artificial islands in the shape of a menorah or candelabra? What is the significance of this shape?
Let’s start with some quick background of what a menorah is. Historically, the menorah has come to be associated with the Jewish holiday of Hannukah, the festival of lights. In the ancient Jewish Temples, priests would light the menorah as a daily ritual that dates back to the Biblical era. This tradition continued for over 1,000 years until the Roman Empire destroyed the Second Jewish Temple and the menorah of the ancients was lost to antiquity.
Today, Jews all over the world light modern versions of the menorah, called Hannukiot, during the annual holiday of Hannukah, in remembrance of the ancient menorahs. The State of Israel even uses a menorah as a national symbol.
Interestingly enough, while the menorah has been associated with Judaism for thousands of years, many ancient Middle Eastern tribes used similar candelabras. The Christian book of Revelations makes mention of the branches of the menorah as corresponding to the Asian churches where the message of Jesus was received. And just this past year, a Jewish/Arab school in Israel created the menorah that was used in the White House’s annual Hannukah ceremony.
So by reaching back to the ancient foundations of the Middle East and marrying them with modern science, we hope to convey our message of unity and cooperation between all the peoples of this historic region. And for this reason we have chosen the menorah as the shape of our artificial islands.