One Rabbi Saw a Gap in the Market for Giant Menorahs. 35 Years Later, He's Gone From Selling 20 a Year to Thousands. Menorah.net is on track to sell more than 5,000 menorahs this year, the most in its history.
- The company sells its menorahs to major public venues.
- This year, it has seen increased support — and some first-time hesitations.
- The company started strictly as word-of-mouth but has since implemented new-age marketing systems.
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At some point during the holiday season, you'll pass a public square, and odds are, you'll see a Christmas tree in the center with patrons ogling at its sheer size. But to the side of the tree often sits another grand holiday staple with the purpose of adding light to the world — the Hanukkah menorah.
You can thank Rabbi Boruch Klar for many of the 12-foot-tall menorahs you see illuminating public forums, office buildings, sports stadiums, cruises, airports and army bases across more than 30 countries.
For 35 years, Klar has been selling signature 12-foot menorahs on Menorah.net, but he says this year is unlike any other.
Courtesy of Menorah.net | Klar posing next to one of his menorahs.
Klar's business started in the 1980s, around the time rabbis in the Chabad-Lubavitch community, a religious group, began advocating to have menorahs in public places.
The movement, led by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, advocated for menorahs to be placed where Jewish tradition intended — in a window or public space.
However, the earliest iterations of the outside public menorah left a lot to be desired, Klar says. He knew it could do better than menorahs made of white PVC piping and set out to create a more appealing piece made from aluminum with proper electrical wiring.
In his first year, the company sold 20 menorahs. But as the product improved and word-of-mouth spread, sales gradually rose. In the past 10 years, the brand has seen an average growth of 65% yearly, per company stats. Last year, the brand sold 3,500 menorahs and is on track to sell more than 5,000 this year.
The menorahs range in height from three to 12 feet and are listed for $750 to $2,600 on Menorah.net.
Klar attributes the uptick in sales to several factors. One is his son Moshe Klar, who joined the company full-time last year and started implementing new growth strategies apart from word-of-mouth and people stumbling onto the website from Google.
"It's so shocking how until last year, we were not doing a lot of things that every business in America does because my dad was just too busy, and he's from a different generation," Moshe says, adding that he started doing email marketing, SEO and using AI to generate letters to customers.
They say there's also been an uptick in businesses showing the holiday spirit for all religions.
"Over the last few years more companies and people want to be inclusive to everybody," Moshe says. "Inclusivity is becoming a much bigger factor than it was 20 years, 10 years, five years ago."
Courtesy of Menorah.net | Photo of Moshe Klar.
But the pair say the rise in antisemitism following the October 7 terrorist attack and the subsequent Israel-Hamas war has also sparked an increase in support from Jewish and non-Jewish community members.
Still, for the first time in their business's history, they say they have also experienced some pushback.
"I did have a sales guy [tell] me that he spoke to a building, and they were afraid; they didn't want to have a menorah," Moshe says. "It caught me off guard because I did think the opposite might be true, where you would want to show more support after the attack. But now...people are actually scared."
But despite some Jewish people being worried about showing representation and non-Jewish businesses fearing harassment, the Klars say the demand for their products remains strong.
"The hesitation is very minimal if anything, and the support is fantastic," Klar says. "We're so busy shipping every single day, I can't even keep up with it — I'm not complaining, of course."
Aside from their menorah business, the father-son duo has a Judaica shop in West Orange, New Jersey, and Menorah.net has come a long way from the first, makeshift versions of its menorahs: It now offers fully-lit multi-color menorahs with WiFi connectivity and automatic lighting features.
Courtesy of Menorah.net | Mockup of a 9-foot-tall menorah.
Klar is proud to help shine a light this year.
"We're [proud] as a family to feel like we are the main providers of light in the whole world — there's nothing else [like it]. It's a wonderful feeling," Klar says. "And I'm telling you, everybody appreciates it, especially now."