Vatican and Rome Jewish Museum collaborate on menorah exhibition

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Vatican and Rome Jewish Museum collaborate on menorah exhibition

An exhibit which has taken more than three years to develop will be installed in the Vatican Museum's Carlo Magno display space in St. Peters Square

St. Peter's Square from the top of Michelangelo's dome
St. Peter's Square from the top of Michelangelo's dome

The Vatican Museum and the Rome Jewish Museum will hold an unprecedented joint exhibition, centered on the image and history of the menorah – the candelabra that is one of the most ancient and enduring symbols of Judaism

Titled “Menorah: Cult, History and Myth,” the exhibit, which took 3-1/2 years to develop, will run from May 15 to July 23. Part of it will be installed in the Vatican Museum’s Carlo Magno exhibition space in St. Peters Square, and part of it in the Rome Jewish Museum, located in the complex of the city’s Great Synagogue.

Some 130 paintings, sculptures, illustrations, and other depictions of menorahs from around the world will be included in the exhibition.

Organisers said the joint exhibit reflects the continuing dialogue between the Vatican and the Jewish world.

A statement issued at the presentation of the exhibit in Rome on Monday said the exhibit “recounts the multi-millennia, incredible and suffered history of the menorah.”

“The menorah is a sort of logo of the Jewish people,” Rome Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni said.

One of the goals of the exhibit, organisers said, was to explore the legend of the seven-branched solid gold menorah from the Temple in Jerusalem that was brought to Rome as a spoil of war when the Romans sacked the Temple in 70 C.E. The scene of the menorah being carried into Rome as a trophy along with Jewish slaves is famously depicted on the ancient Arch of Titus.

The Temple menorah disappeared in the fifth century after vandals sacked Rome in 455. Legends persist that it was either thrown into the Tiber River or hidden away in the Vatican.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: