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!
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • 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.