By Jan Murphy – PennLive.com
A large crowd of adults and children filled Pennsylvania Capitol’s East Wing Rotunda on Monday to celebrate the lighting of Pennsylvania’s menorah and to honor the memory of those 11 people whose lives were lost in the mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
The ceremony, sponsored by Chabad-Lubavitch of Harrisburg, included remarks from Gov. Tom Wolf, who had the honor of lighting the lead candle on the menorah. Other local dignitaries also participated.
The holiday of Hanukkah, which lasts eight days, commemorates the establishment of freedom of religion for Israelites.
During his remarks, Rabbi Shmuel Pewzner of Chabad-Lubavitch said the message learned from the maccabees some 2100 years ago about the power of light overcoming darkness is a timely and important one to remember in the wake of the hate-inspired shooting that played out at Tree of Life that late October morning.
“Pittsburgh became the target of a ruthless evil, unfathomable hate, an inexplicable darkness. It was a peaceful Shabbat morning that was turned into a tragic massacre that shook the world. Such utter darkness lurking so close to home. It seems that the time-honored values and principles, the foundation of any decent human society are facing erosion,” Pewzner said, still so emotionally raw from the events of that day that he had to pause several times during his remarks to collect himself.
“The menorah reminds us that we all have the power to create that light. We can shine brighter, we will shine brighter. Pennsylvania’s menorah will shine brighter this year, brighter than ever.”