Faiths come together to illuminate the night, send message to the KKK

An interfaith crowd of “people of goodwill” attended a Chanukah Menorah Lighting Ceremony at a local Methodist church, preceded by an informational program on the history and traditions that accompany the Eight Day Festival of Lights.

The ceremony took place this past Sunday at sunset at the Rectorville United Methodist Church in Marshall.

Courtesy photo
Rabbi Rose Jacob and Henry Lavine participated in the first-ever Chanukah Menorah lighting at Rectorville United Methodist Church.

“The goal was to add even more light to the darkness in a show of unity and tolerance,” according to Rabbi Rose Jacob of Madison County. “Recent distribution of anti-Semitic flyers by the KKK made the gathering even more poignant.”

The idea to place a Chanukah Menorah in front of the church, between The Nativity Scene and the Christmas tree, came out of a casual “what if” conversation between local residents, including Henry Lavoine, and a church board member, Jacob says.

“The idea was brought to Pastor Steve Weedling and put before the board and the decision was unanimous.”

The church officials contacted Rabbi Jacob, who came out to discuss the meaning of the holiday and lead the prayers for the lighting of the Menorah.

In addition to church members, there were a number of clergy and members from Virginia Interfaith Coalition for Public Policy, members of several Jewish groups, as well as the Hate Has No Home Here committee, whose signs have shown up throughout Rappahannock County.

After a meaningful evening of fellowship in the spirit of the season, the group is hoping to make this an annual event, the rabbi states.

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John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at editor@rappnews.com.