Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
News

Jerome Spector, 79, Candlemaker Who Planted Gardens

(JTA) — Jerome Spector started making candles when he was living on a commune outside Bennington, Vermont, in the 1960s.

Spector was a potter back then, but he didn’t have a kiln. So when someone suggested he could earn money by making candles, Spector used his clay pots as molds, filling them with wax and then ripping away the clay.

Eventually, he would start a business, Big Dipper Candles, that he ran out of his home in Chester, New York, for more than three decades. He was playful with his creations — making candles in the shape of sushi rolls or matzah balls. But he was renown for his Hanukkah candles, which were sold in synagogues, museum gift shops and Jewish community centers.

“Many people know him for his Hanukkah candles and would come back to buy them from him every year,” said his daughter, Jennie Spector.

Spector, who died April 25 of COVID-19 at 79, was born in Troy, New York. After the commune, he lived briefly in Manhattan before moving upstate to Orange County.

For years, Spector would spend weekends selling his candles at craft shows up and down the East Coast. After selling the business about 15 years ago, Spector threw himself into volunteer work. He served on the board of a local environmental group and volunteered at a soup kitchen. At his synagogue, he started a program to supply low-income children with snacks at school that they couldn’t afford on their own.

“Anytime that his help was needed, he was there,” Jennie Spector said. “And even when people didn’t ask, he would just sort of show up.”

Spector also loved gardening. He planted a vegetable garden at the synagogue and a garden of spring flowers at his home that Jennie Spector describes as “his pride and glory.” He also loved giving away plants he had grown to others.

“Plants from his gardens are growing today in dozens of gardens tended by friends and family,” read the obituary that ran in the Times Herald-Record.

The post Jerome Spector, 79, candlemaker who planted gardens appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Engage

  • SHARE YOUR FEEDBACK

  • UPCOMING EVENT

    SKY & SCULPTURE

    Hybrid: Online and at the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan

    Oct 2, 2022

    6:30 pm ET · 

    A Sukkah, IMKHA, created by artist Tobi Kahn, for the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan is an installation consisting of 13 interrelated sculpted painted wooden panels, constituting a single work of art. Join for a panel discussion with Rabbi Joanna Samuels, Chief Executive Director of the Marlene Meyerson JCC of Manhattan, Talya Zax, Innovation Editor of the Forward, and Tobi Kahn, Artist. Moderated by Mattie Kahn.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.