Condemning anti-semitism, governor and Jewish leaders …

Posted By on January 4, 2022

The sound of celebratory music, the light of candles and the smell of potato pancakes filed the Statehouse rotunda Monday, as Gov. Laura Kelly, Secretary of State Scott Schwab and a host of Jewish leaders lit a ceremonial menorah in honor of Hanukkah.

The annual Jewish festival of light began over the weekend in commemorationof the recovery of the temple in Jerusalem, the successful revolt of the Macabeesand the corresponding lighting of the menorah. Chabad of Kansas hosted a corresponding celebration in the Statehouse, continuing a 15-year tradition.

Kelly used her remarks to condemn anti-Semitism, including a series of incidents in legislative hearing where members of the public and even a state legislator appeared to compare COVID-19 vaccine mandates to the Holocaust.

She said it was disappointing those events occurred a year after state leaders condemned an opinion cartoon in a western Kansas newspaper comparing her mask mandate to the Holocaust.

I didnt expect such a comparison would be made again. … It happens time and time again, including right here in the Kansas Statehouseat a legislative committee hearing just a few weeks ago," Kelly said."This behavior is unacceptable. It is not who we are as Kansans or as Americans, and we cannot let it become acceptable."

In addition to Kelly and Schwab, Rabbi Zalman Tiechteland a cast of children helped light the menorah in the rotunda. Kelly was also presented with a dreidel, a four-sided top traditionally played during the Hanukkah season.

Rabbi Mendi Wineberg of The Shul Chabad of Leawood noted the season of Hanukkah is about light, something which is important to embrace in an often gloomy world.

The darkness can be banished very easily," Wineberg said. "If we just light a candle, we just add some light.We can remove divisiveness just like that."

Andrew Bahl is a senior statehouse reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. He can be reached at or by phone at 443-979-6100.

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