HELENA — Jewish leaders gathered at the capitol on Thursday to light the fifth candle on the menorah in honor of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.
For the past 15 years, excluding last year due to Covid, the Montana Association of Jewish Communities, or MAJCO, has been celebrating Hanukkah in the capitol.
Governor Greg Gianforte stopped by the Menorah lighting and even lent a hand in the lighting of the candles.
Gianforte used his time at the podium to reiterate Montana’s support of the Jewish people and speak out against acts of antisemitism.
“And let me be clear, Montana stands in light with the Jewish faith and her people,” says Gianforte.
Multiple leaders and rabbis of the Jewish faith from throughout Montana gave speeches in regard to Hanukkah and its deeper meaning to Judaism.
Burt Chessin, the organizer of the day’s event, finds the celebration of Hanukkah at the capitol important to the recognition and support of Jewish people in Montana.
“So, it has a very strong emotional and I think reason for being here in the state capitol because it really represents the whole state and it's important for we as Jews to say, ‘We’re here too,’” says Chessin.
Montana’s history of Judaism was displayed by the gathering and recognition of the Jewish people and their traditions here in Helena.