At White House Party, Long Island Menorah Becomes Symbol of Resilience
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
A Long Island menorah that survived Sandy will be taking center stage at the White House Hanukkah party Thursday evening.
Rabbi David Bauman of Temple Israel of Long Beach says he was shocked and amazed to get the call from the White House, which was seeking a menorah that survived the storm, about two weeks ago. “It’s not every day you get a call from the White House.”
A few hours and one photo later, he and the menorah he photographed were asked to the White House’s annual Hanukkah celebration.
As Bauman learned, the White House has a history of choosing menorahs with significance. He said it makes sense, since it reflects the spirit of the holiday itself.
“The story of Hanukkah is the story of the underdog becoming the victor and the sense of hope the candles can bring,” the 41-year-old rabbi said. “And this menorah is one of two. They’re twins that adorn our synagogue and they’ve always provided a sense of comfort and strength for our congregation and now they will for the country.”
The more than 6-foot-tall, brass menorah survived the storm unscathed, unlike the rest of the flood-damaged synagogue, which was built in 1923. Almost six weeks after the storm, the synagogue still lacks basic services like power, water and heat.
As Bauman explains, the clean up will be a slow and long haul. The building is 90 years old and “needs to be fitted properly,” which means it will take LIPA and the electricians some time.
The menorah’s selection as part of the White House celebration has become a bright spot for the congregation in an otherwise long recovery.
“We’re happy that we have the ability to highlight with our synagogue and our menorah the devastation that has happened around the region,” he said.