Chanukah/Menorah: Love Thy Neighbors

If you take a stroll down Albany Street this week, you’ll see something unusual in the window of the Presbyterian Manse. Beginning December 7th, I’ll be displaying a menorah. This traditional Chanukah decoration isn’t common in most Christian households (much less in the homes of Christian ministers), but I’ve decided to display one anyway – not because I’m celebrating, but because my friends and neighbors are.

Earlier this year, antisemitic literature was distributed throughout our village community. While local law enforcement acted quickly in the matter, this combined with the spike in antisemitism since the October 7th Hamas attack in Israel has left many of the Jewish members of our community on edge. While I celebrate Christmas freely without fear of becoming the target of violence, they simply don’t. By displaying a menorah, I want to send a clear and poignant message: Hate has no home here.

I want my Jewish friends and neighbors to know that they are safe with me and, more importantly that they are safe in the community they call home. For this reason, I’m inviting others within the community – businesses and private individuals – to join in the display of this holiday symbol. Let’s let our Jewish neighbors know that they are loved and wanted here, that they aren’t in this by themselves.

Happy Holidays to All,

Rev. Anna C. Gheen
Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Cazenovia