HELENA - State leaders helped celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah Tuesday with the lighting of the second candle on the Menorah.
“It's beautiful and very important I think to acknowledge that that history has not gone away, that there are people here living and practicing their traditions. Some of them look more like the Chabad rabbis. Some of them look more like me. But we're all here together, and I think that's very important,” says Montana Jewish Project Co-Founder and President of the Board of the MJP, Rebecca Stanfel.
The lighting of the Menorah is part of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah also called the Festival of Lights. The holiday is celebrated over eight nights and days. Each day of Hanukkah a new candle on the Menorah is lit.
Monday’s celebration brought together Jewish leaders as well as Governor Greg Gianforte to share a few words about the holiday and remember the rich history of Judaism in Montana.
Rabbi Chaim Bruk feels thankful that the history of his people is celebrated in the state’s capitol building.
"That we live in a state that very much believes in the freedom of each individual to worship the way they like, that welcomes diversity. And I know Montana gets a bad rap for being a place where there's not a lot of diversity. But in the mindset of Montanans, diversity is a very real thing. And I see it on a day-to-day basis. The love and respect and dignity with which we are treated here in the state is out of this world. And we are super grateful to Montanans for showing up."
The celebration in the capitol building has been happening for the past 16 years, excluding a year when it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.