Governor Dannel Malloy helped kick off Chanukah on Tuesday, Dec. 20, when he welcomed to his office at the State Capitol a delegation of rabbis representing the 23 Chabad Jewish centers throughout the state. The rabbis shared thoughts and inspirations relating to the holiday and presented a menorah to the governor.
“I consider it a great honor to have all of you here,” the Governor told the rabbis. “I have participated in Chabad events and I’m very happy to have you all here. I certainly want to be a good partner to all of you.”
Rabbi Joseph Gopin of Chabad of Greater Hartford compared the mission of Chabad to that of the menorah. “On Chanukah, we add another candle each night,” he said. “We must keep on adding; we cannot be satisfied with what we have achieved.”
Gaining further inspiration from the menorah, Rabbi Yisrael Deren of Chabad of Western and Southern New England observed that in many menorahs the “Shamash” candle — the “Server” — is raised above all the rest. “In Judaism, there is nothing nobler than serving others,” he said.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the rabbis and the Governor danced to some Chanukah tunes, including the famous “Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel…” which, to everyone’s surprise, the Governor knew, having learned it in pubic school as a boy.
“We live in a blessed country that upholds the values of religious freedom,” said Rabbi Joseph Wolvovsky of the Benet Rothstein Chabad Jewish Center in Glastonbury. “We consider it an honor to mark the beginning of Chanukah with Governor Malloy, representing all the people of our great state.”
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