State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

Menorah kindling, 'round back

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Dec 10, 2012 11:16 PM
menorah1210.jpg

Photo by Mary Wilson / witf

The event began with religious overtones, and ended with political ones.

“We are beginning for both Jews and Christians a season of giving but we must also measure our generosity with grace,” said Gov. Corbett, as he encouraged the crowd in the Capitol’s East Wing not to rush to explain the things some consider to be miracles – gifts from God. “In addition to giving, we need to know how to receive graciously.”

A few dignitaries later, Democratic state Representative Mark Cohen of Philadelphia couldn’t help but draw parallels between the oil that burned for eight straight days and the state’s own problems.

“We certainly need more light in Harrisburg,” Cohen began. “We certainly need more miracles in Harrisburg. We certainly need more understanding in Harrisburg. We certainly need more conservation of resources in Harrisburg.”

The large menorah was “lit” with an assist from the governor, and the flick of a few switches. The tradition of lighting it at the state Capitol goes back 25 years, said Rabbi Shmuel Pewzner, of Harrisburg’s Chabad Lubavitch.

It’ll be on display behind the state Capitol building.

Last week, Corbett noted how pleased he was to see the Capitol displaying a Christmas tree out front for all to see. Why the menorah isn’t lit and displayed in the same place is beyond him, he said as he left the ceremony.

Rabbi Pewzner said the menorah used to stand on the Capitol’s front steps, but was moved to the back in the 1980s for logistical reasons – there was construction at the time. He said he’s going to ask that it be moved to the front next year to share a space with the Christmas tree.

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