Chanukah at the Governor’s Mansion
I was blessed to spend the fourth night of Chanukah with Governor Cooper and 16 clergy from the North Carolina Jewish Clergy Association at the Governor’s Mansion. Here are the words I shared:
Chanukah celebrates the kindling of light on the darkest days of the calendar year and Chanukah celebrates the increasing the light – for this holiday began more than 2100 years ago, when our ability to freely and safely practice our faith was threatened.
Governor Cooper, we are grateful beyond words for the ways in which you have kindled light and you have increased the light in our state.
First, through your legislative efforts that seek to protect and uplift all North Carolinians. We celebrate your most recent success of NC Medicaid expansion and giving more than 600,000 North Carolinians access to healthcare.
And second, we celebrate the ways you have increased the light in North Carolina through your supporting the beautiful diversity of all religious faiths in our Tar Heel State.
From the moment we formed as a North Carolina Jewish Clergy Association in April 2022, you have been there for us. We are honored to be part of this Chanukah celebration in the Governor’s Mansion.
In just a moment we will invite our children forward to physically increase the light of our Chanukah festival.
And as we do, we invite all of the adults here and all those who are viewing this ceremony through the media to make a commitment to increasing the light in our state.
We can cast out the darkness and increase the light in our state by challenging hate whenever and wherever we see it – whether it be antisemitism or Islamophobia.
We can cast out the darkness and increase the light in our state by protecting North Carolina’s diverse religious communities so they can practice their faith without fear.
We can cast out the darkness and increase the light by abandoning polarization and driving toward collaboration and common ground for advancing peace.
Tonight we light candles for the 137 individuals still being held hostage in Gaza who cannot light the Chanukah candles celebrating freedom themselves.
Tonight we light candles for the hundreds of thousands of Israelis healing from the trauma of October 7th massacre for whom the darkness of devastation is deep.
Tonight we light candles for civilians on both sides of the border – in Gaza and Israel – who are grieving and mourning and broken by this war.
Tonight we light candles for all the Jews in our state who are too afraid to share their faith publicly.
And most of all tonight we light candles for our children – for we are committed to them, the children of our state and children globally – that they may live in safety, in security, with justice, with peace and with abundant reasons to celebrate.