Today, Governor Roy Cooper hosted a Hanukkah menorah lighting at the North Carolina Executive Mansion in advance of the holiday to celebrate and show support for North Carolina’s Jewish community. Hanukkah begins the evening of Sunday, December 18. Before the lighting, Governor Cooper held a meeting with the North Carolina Jewish Clergy Association (NCJCA) to discuss issues of importance to the Jewish community.
“Hanukkah begins on Sunday and it’s a wonderful chance to gather and reflect on the holiday’s valuable lessons, including the courage to fight for what’s right so that light can triumph over darkness,” Governor Cooper said. “Right now, antisemitic violence and threats are increasing rapidly here and across the world and it’s on all of us to speak out and work to stop this dangerous extremism.”
“In this time of rising antisemitism, we are deeply grateful to Governor Cooper for welcoming the North Carolina Jewish Clergy Association to the Governor’s Mansion. This house represents all of North Carolina’s community. To have a Hanukkah menorah on display here, on these grounds, affirms what we always knew: For the Jewish community, North Carolina is home. A home where love, justice and religious freedom reign,” said Rabbi Judy Schindler, Rabbi Emerita of Temple Beth El in Charlotte and Director of the Stan Greenspon Holocaust and Social Justice Education Center at Queens University of Charlotte. She is also Co-chair of North Carolina Jewish Clergy Association.
“Our hope is that when North Carolinians gaze upon this Hanukkah menorah, they will see it as more than just a Jewish symbol. Hanukkah is about religious freedom, the rejection of hatred and bigotry, and a way of seeing the world as filled with miracles. Hanukkah may be a Jewish community holiday, but its message is for the world,” said Rabbi Eric Solomon of Beth Meyer Synagogue in Raleigh and Co-chair of North Carolina Jewish Clergy Association.
Before the lighting ceremony, Governor Cooper hosted the NCJCA, North Carolina Department of Public Safety Secretary Eddie Buffaloe and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein for a meeting to discuss issues of importance in the Jewish community, including rising antisemitism and violence against Jewish people and institutions.
The group discussed ways the community can continue to partner with the state to protect houses of worship and other Jewish campuses, including trainings on enhanced security, engagement with local law enforcement, and grant funding opportunities.
Other topics discussed at the meeting included protecting women’s health care, pushing for Medicaid expansion and preserving voting rights.