As Jewish people around the world are witnessing the horrors of anti-Jewish propaganda, Rabbi Zalman and Raizy Mendelsohn of Chabad in Jackson Hole, Wyoming are mailing a Menorah, candles, and a dreidel to every resident of Jackson Hole.
It was 1931, the eighth night of Chanukah in Kiel, Germany, a small town with a Jewish population of 500. That year, the last night of Chanukah was on Friday evening, and Rabbi Akiva Boruch Posner, spiritual leader of the town, was hurrying to light the Menorah before Shabbos set in.
Directly across the Posner’s apartment stood the Nazi headquarters in Kiel, displaying the dreaded Nazi Party flag in the cold December night. With the eight lights of the Menorah glowing brightly in her window, Rabbi Posner’s wife, Rochel, snapped a photo of the Menorah right before Shabbos and captured the Nazi building and flag in the background.
Mrs. Posner wrote a few lines in German on the back of the photo: Chanukah, 5692 (1931). ‘Judea dies,’ thus says the banner. ‘Judea will live forever,’ thus respond the Chanukah lights.
In 1993, the small town of Billings, Montana was rocked by a year of racism and ethnic hatred. White supremacists moved in, spewing hate mail, death threats, and vandalism against Native Americans, African Americans, and Jews.
Anti-Jewish hate flyers appeared and the Jewish cemetery was vandalized. On Dec. 2 of that year, a brick was thrown through the bedroom window of a 5-year-old Jewish boy, Isaac Schnitzer, who was displaying a Menorah for the Holiday of Chanukah.
Horrified, the town responded. The Billings Gazette printed a full-page menorah, which thousands of citizens pasted in their own windows in an amazing show of solidarity with the small Jewish community. The story inspired books, articles, and the 1995 documentary “Not In Our Town”.
This Chanukah, 2023, as Jewish people around the world are witnessing the horrors of anti-Jewish propaganda, in another small town the Jewish community is responding with overwhelming light. Rabbi Zalman and Raizy Mendelsohn of Chabad in Jackson Hole, Wyoming have ordered 13,000 menorahs, shipped from New York on nine pallets. Chabad of Wyoming is mailing a Menorah, candles, and a dreidel to each of the 12,530 Jewish and non-Jewish addresses in Jackson Hole, and every Wyoming Senator and Representative, and every statewide elected leader.
Inside each Menorah kit, is a letter requesting of the recipients to light the Menorah and display it in their window, snap a photo, and share it with friends on social media with the campaign hashtag #WYStandsWithJews and #WYStandsWithIsrael.
To participate in bringing a dazzling array of light to a small town in Wyoming, visit JewishWyoming.com/light.