Home January 2024 Jlife Buzz- Monmouth Reform Temple Celebrates Hanukkah with Environmental Menorah

Jlife Buzz- Monmouth Reform Temple Celebrates Hanukkah with Environmental Menorah

The Monmouth Reform Temple (MRT), this year, chose to celebrate the festival of lights and miracles by building a Hanukkah menorah made completely of recyclable plastic bottles and solar-powered lights as a reminder of our duty to connect with and protect our environment. Students collected the bottles and filled them with messages about climate, the environment and justice for all. MRT members instrumental to this effort pictured above are (left to right): Ricke Kashdan, Chantal Nash, Rabbi Renee Edelman, Jay Wiesenfeld, Cantor Gabrielle Clissold, front – Educator Magda Reyes. Not pictured is menorah designer Judy Rabon.


    The celebration of Hanukkah celebrates the ancient victory of the Jewish people over their enemies and the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem which they sought to destroy. The Hanukkah menorah candles are lit for eight nights to symbolize the miracle of lights that would not diminish over that same period despite the temple’s destruction.
    This year the Monmouth Reform Temple (MRT) Community came together to create an environmental Hanukkah Menorah to celebrate the renewal and protection of our environment in coordination with the Jewish climate action group Dayenu.
    The six-foot wide and four-foot high (with center Shamash candle) menorah was designed by MRT member and artist Judy Rabon. Religious school students and MRT members collected all the recyclable bottles for the building blocks upon which adults fashioned solar powered lights to the tops of the candles. Students assembled at a special Sunday service program with the MRT Social Action Committee to talk about the environment and leave messages in the bottles about climate, environment, and environmental justice.
    MRT Climate and Environmental Justice Group Chair Jay Weisenfeld states, “We brought the “Time to Build” Hanukkah program from Dayenu to MRT. Dayenu’s mission is to secure a livable and sustainable world as a multi-generational Jewish movement to address the climate crisis.   The “Time to Build” program recognizes the importance of Climate, Jobs, and Justice for All.  We are celebrating Hanukkah, as a time to focus on the miracle of light, and the miracle of raising our collective voices for a just and livable future for all.”
    Temple members were encouraged to write Governor Murphy to fully utilize the federal funds in the ground-breaking Inflation Reduction Act in the spirit of social justice and additionally to stop all bills and projects that increase fossil fuels and pollute NJ communities.


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