Mikie Sherrill, who came through Morristown as a candidate on Election Eve, returned Monday as a Congresswoman-elect for a menorah lighting that she said symbolizes the triumph of hope over hatred.
Wearing a Tree of Life pin, commemorating the 11 lives lost in October at a Pittsburgh synagogue in the worst attack on America’s Jewish community, Sherrill echoed remarks by Rabbi Moishe Gurevitz.
“I think in counteracting that hatred we can really show the light that we have here in Morristown and throughout our community here in New Jersey, and the light we want to see for the world,” said Sherrill.
The Montclair Democrat was elected last month to succeed Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, a Republican from Harding retiring after 12 terms representing the 11th District.
Video: ‘Counteracting hatred’
Sherrill left the historic Morristown Green immediately after her brief remarks. Her decision last week to join the Blue Dog Coalition, a House caucus of conservative Democrats, has riled area progressives who campaigned hard for her.
In a statement, the former Navy helicopter pilot and federal prosecutor indicated she plans to reach out to numerous groups within the party.
JELLY DOUGHNUTS AND JUGGLED TORCHES
Monday’s ceremony, on the second night of Chanukah, drew an enthusiastic crowd that munched on jelly doughnuts (a traditional treat) while being entertained by the Cheder boys choir of Morristown and acrobat Steve Mills, who balanced a ladder on his nose and juggled flaming torches.
Two lamps of the 14-foot-tall menorah were lit by Sol Barer, chairman of Teva Pharmaceutical, and Ruvane Tarlow from the Rabbinical College of America, which co-sponsored the event with Chabad Young Professionals of Morristown.
Slideshow photos by Kevin Coughlin. Click / hover on images for captions:
Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty and First Lady Mary Dougherty attended the ceremony, along with town Council Members Stefan Armington and Alison Deeb.
Outgoing Morris Township Mayor Peter Mancuso and incoming Mayor Jeff Grayzel also came out on the chilly evening, as did Mendham Township Committeewoman Amalia Duarte.
Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, recalls the Jewish victory more than two millennia ago against Syrian Greeks who had overrun Jerusalem.
Upon recapturing the Temple, the Jewish people found just one jar of undefiled oil, enough to burn only one day for their ritual menorah lighting.
Yet it is said to have lasted eight days, a miracle celebrated as a triumph over religious oppression.
Rabbi Gurevitz, director of the Chabad Young Professionals chapter, said the menorah challenges each person to perform a good deed to better the world.
“A little light pushes away a lot of darkness,” he said.