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In a show of solidarity, Lebanon’s Congregation Beth Israel has put up an indefinite tribute to Ukraine using the colors of the country’s flag in a menorah lights display outside of its 8th Street synagogue.
Located across from the Lebanon County-City Municipal Building, Congregation Beth Israel has swapped in yellow and blue lights to the menorah displays located by its entrance.
Synagogue member Joe Clark told LebTown that the plan arose at the suggestion of local lawyer Bernie Buzgon during a congregation meeting last week. Clark said that the synagogue was able to locate yellow and blue lights at Lowe’s and install them on both outdoor menorah displays – the menorah closest to the street including a set of thick globes which required considerable effort to remove and re-install with the colored lights.
“People had been talking about what we could we do to support some of the people fleeing the warfare,” said Clark about the plan’s origins.
While the congregation discussed briefly the possibility of providing refuge to those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, limited personnel and resources to house anybody made that possibility unviable for the synagogue.
Synagogue member Stu Perlmutter helped put photos of the display on the synagogue’s website and elsewhere online.
“I think (the show of support) reflects the feeling of our whole community, not just the Jewish community,” said Clark. “I haven’t heard anybody critical of Ukraine and nothing but support.”
Clark noted that the synagogue’s act of solidarity with Ukraine, despite memories that remain of the fate of Ukrainian Jews during the holocaust, is a testament to how “you just can’t make any progress if you’re stuck in the past.”
Clark pointed out how Ukraine’s president, Jewish comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is himself an example of the nation and world moving forward.
“The whole world would be at a standstill if every bad event carried forward into the future,” said Clark.
Clark said the synagogue plans to keep the menorahs lit night and day, given that they show up “surprisingly well” in daylight.
The synagogue is located at 411 South 8th Street in Lebanon. More information about the synagogue can be found at the Congregation Beth Israel website.
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