Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Rejected By Festival

Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Rejected By Festival

Hanukkah Menorah Lighting Rejected By Festival

There is great evil afoot in our beautiful country. It has been lurking there for years, but it is now manifesting itself in many, many ways. We have seen it with the Trans Ideology infesting schools. We have seen it with the hatred of our flag. This month of December we are seeing it with the denigration of our faiths. Starting with Hanukkah. An arts festival has rejected the idea of lighting a Menorah to celebrate Hanukkah. It’s being called Antisemitism. I would like to call it Anti-American.

One of the great joys of my life, when raising my son, was sharing holidays with our neighbors. They are Jewish. We are Baptist. I figure since Jesus is Jewish, my son would benefit from knowing the Lord’s history. We played dreidel. Nun, hey, gimel and shin (A great miracle happened there). We got gelt. We lit the candle(s) each night on the Menorah. Because I love Newport, RI, we walked around the outside of Touro Synagogue built in 1763. It looks like any other colonial building on the outside. One of my son’s sixth grade teachers was Muslim and, during that year, he learned a bit of history from him.

To me that is how America should be. We learn and respect our religious and cultural differences. No longer. On October 7, 2023, Hamas attacked Israel butchering and kidnapping her citizens. The thin veneer was ruined. The divisions, hatred and tribalism are wide out in the open now. As our Kim wrote on October 10, “Antisemitism Crawls From Its Fetid Holes Everywhere”.

A music and arts festival in Virginia has declined to include a Menorah lighting. Will someone complain soon about the National Menorah?

This latest tsuris began when a Rabbi approached the organizer of the Second Sundays festival about having a Menorah lighting. According to the Washington Post:

Heber had hoped a menorah lighting this coming Sunday, the fourth night of the Jewish holiday Hanukkah, during an arts and music festival in Williamsburg, Va., would be a chance to highlight the message of light amid darkness, without emphasizing religion.

The festival occurs on the second Sunday of every month from March to December, with more than 150 artisans, musicians, street performers and food vendors.

However, Heber’s proposal was ultimately rejected. Vermillion, the organizer, said in a statement to The Washington Post that the festival has never included religious events and told the Virginia Gazette that the organization has also denied past requests from Christian and other religious groups to perform.

She also said in a private message to Heber — which a local Jewish group shared with The Post — that organizers were rejecting the proposal “unless we could get an Islamic group to participate at the same time. We are about Peace, Love & light… don’t want to make it seem we’re choosing a side — supporting the killing/bombing of thousands of men, women & children.”

“Light amid darkness” sounds pretty ecumenical to me. I love the idea of lighting the dark in the winter. That sounds very inclusive to me.

More from the WaPo article:

Heber replied: “This would not have anything to do with Israel! Nothing to do with Zionism. Everything to do with adding light in the world.”

Ultimately, Vermillion proposed another option: “Our board members said they’d be ok with proceeding if you’d do it under a cease fire banner.”

The fallout of their conversation has led to a controversy neither Heber or Vermillion initially anticipated and reflects how Americans are navigating difficult discussions about the Israel-Gaza war with friends, families and neighbors, and damaging relationships in the process.

Vermillion, a dental hygienist, was not immediately available for a phone interview on Monday because she was seeing patients at work and then needed to speak with the police about “some threats that I need to document,” but she elaborated on the controversy in an email and texts to The Post.

“In these volatile times, including one religious and cultural group and not the other sides would have been misconstrued all over (I unfortunately made the mistake of engaging in a conversation with Rabbi Mendy about it without getting the full opinion and guidance of the board),” Vermillion said in an email. “I don’t read or watch the news at all…too busy with festival organizing and life — wasn’t not FULLY aware of the atrocities happening until after the discussion had begun (and didn’t think thru how it could be twisted on us and then ironically this) and we quickly corrected to stay the course of UNIFYING, Cultural and religious NEUTRAL Live music, dance and street performers as we have for 14 yrs.”

A little snippy there wasn’t Sister Vermillion. I am being a little snippy here, but Hanukkah isn’t deeply religious like Passover or Yom Kippur. It’s not like the Baptists have a full-immersion Baptism in the river. It’s Hanukkah. It’s about light on olive oil.

Move the Menorah lighting to the William & Mary campus. Wouldn’t want to offend anyone.

People should not be going after Vermillion or anyone associated with Second Sundays. That violates everything we Americans stand for. In the meantime, pray for our country until your knees bleed.

Featured Image: Ted Eytan/flickr.com/cropped/Creative Commons

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