Menorah From Sandy-Hit Shul Lights White House

Long Island Synagogue Badly Battered by Hurricane

Light of Hope: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch as the White House menorah is lit.
getty images
Light of Hope: President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama watch as the White House menorah is lit.

By JTA

Published December 15, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 2)

“The story of what’s going on there – the rededication and re-sanctification of these communities, there’s definitely a correlation” with Chanukah, Bernstein said.

Bernstein contacted the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, a group he was familiar with from his Bloomberg days and which he admired for working with both Jewish and non-Jewish communities. That led him, in turn, to Temple Israel, established in 1920.

The seven-foot brass menorah is one of a pair dating from at least the building’s 1923 construction, said Rabbi David Bauman, interviewed as he ferried the menorah to Washington for the party. They were spared because they were on an upper floor.

Bauman said he at first didn’t believe the White House was on the line. When he understood it was for real, he said, it was like a ray of light.

He recalled Psalm 30, associated with the dedication of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem: “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

Bauman said he hoped the Chanukah party would garner attention not only for the synagogue, but for his neighbors.

“The region and my synagogue’s devastation with Hurricane Sandy, has been incredibly dark,” he said. “Coming to the White House is not only an honor for us but for the entire region.”

Bauman, 41 and a reserve chaplain in the U.S. Marines, leads a nondenominational shul that he describes as “Conservadox” with both separate and mixed seating. There is also a beit midrash; much of the damage was to holy books and Torah scrolls.

The damage, he said, totaled $5 million, and insurance covered just a fraction of that. Moreover, his institution – like other houses of worship – are not necessarily entitled to the federal recovery money because of religion-state separation.

“Hopefully, this will be a way for us to get the story out and raise some money to rebuild,” he said.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • "I feel great sorrow about the fact that you decided to return the honor and recognition that you so greatly deserve." Rivka Ben-Pazi, who got Dutchman Henk Zanoli recognized as a "Righteous Gentile," has written him an open letter.
  • Is there a right way to criticize Israel?
  • From The Daily Show to Lizzy Caplan, here's your Who's Jew guide to the 2014 #Emmys. Who are you rooting for?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.