Laramie’s First Public Menorah Lighting Asks For Hope
It was a cold night last night when Laramie's first ever public menorah lighting was held at the First Street Plaza on Grand to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah. While the celebration felt like a coming together of community, complete with singing, laughing, and applause, it marked a somber remembrance.
The event was proposed to be held in Laramie in solidarity after the October 27th loss of 11 members of the Jewish community of the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.
Rabbi Zalman Mendelsohn from Jackson, Wyo, traveled to Laramie to help with the event, the first of its kind in Laramie, as well as the annual lighting at the Governor's Mansion in Cheyenne. He was joined by the Laramie Jewish Community Center, as well as the City of Laramie and a private donor from Jackson in bringing the 9-foot tall menorah to First Street Plaza.
Despite the cold weather, the loud trains passing, and technical difficulties that caused one of the light-bulbs to refuse to cooperate, the event was a warm one, with members of all different faiths coming together to celebrate and show love for the Jewish Laramie Community.
Rabbi Mendelsohn spoke to the crowd, recounting lessons from the menorah that can be applied to one's outlook on life, even in difficult times. He recounted the menorah stood for unity, having originally been made out of one solid block of gold, as well as shining lights of positivity into one's community, and remembering that, in adding another candle each day, you must remember that the amount of light you put out in the world the day before might not be enough to cut through the darkness.
The 9-foot tall menorah will be on display in the plaza for the duration of the Hanukkah holiday.