Menorah Lighting Rejected from Art and Music Festival

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Abby Trivett

Recently a Virginia rabbi’s request to perform a menorah lighting at a local art and music festival was denied.

Despite being in the middle of the Hanukkah season, the rabbi’s request was denied, according to Fox News, because the festival organization “does not permit religious celebrations.” However, this claim is largely different than the response that Rabbi Mendy Heber received in a private text message from the event organizer.

“Unless we could get an Islamic group to participate at the same. 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,” the text message read.

This text clearly implied that the menorah lighting was considered to be a sign of support with Israel, which the event organizers did not want to show. However, Heber claimed that a proposed idea from the festival demonstrated a clear choosing of a side.

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“They came back to us and said, ‘Hey, we would be ready with the proposal if we would have a cease-fire banner under the menorah,’ clearly taking a political side and welcoming the menorah under certain circumstances,” Heber said.

In a separate statement, the event founder, Shirley Vermillion said, “In 14 years this street festival has never had a religious program as one of its events. This is not a discriminatory act but one based on the objectives of the organization and the sincere desire to make this monthly event a place where all people can come together to enjoy music and art.”

There seems to be a discrepancy between the public reasoning against the menorah lighting and the private reasoning given to Heber as to why the lighting could not take place. Not showing support for American Jews because of something happening in another country seems harsh, regardless of the thought behind it.

As Christians, we must remember to never back down from having a heart for the Jewish people, the lineage in which our Savior descended from. When God first called Abram to make a great nation out of him, He said: “I will bless them who bless you and curse him who curses you, and in you all families of the earth will be blessed,” (Gen. 12:3). Because God’s Word is never void and never fails, His Word and His promise to the Jewish people today still holds true, now and forever.

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Abby Trivett is a marketing copywriter and coordinator for Charisma Media.

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