'Be that candle of light': Celebrations of first night of Hanukkah continue despite message of hate

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Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Hanukkah celebrations continue across triangle despite message of hate
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'Be that candle of light'

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Many celebrated the first night of Hanukkah hours after an anti-Semitic banner was spotted over a Moore County highway Sunday morning.

The sign was located on a bridge over US-1 near the town of Vass, in the same area that two Duke Energy substations were vandalized on Dec. 3.

Vass Mayor Pro Tem Matthew Callahan said Sunday's act does not reflect the beliefs of this town. He described the community as close-knit.

The town issued this statement Monday about the incident:

"Mayor Callahan, the Vass Board of Commissioners and staff; unequivocally denounce antisemitism and hate in any form. All forms of hate against any group will not be tolerated in our community. The disgusting antisemitic sign that was hung on a bridge near Vass does not reflect the beliefs of our community. The Town of Vass will rise above this hate. The United States of America is a land of inclusion and opportunity, not a place for antisemitism and hatred. The Town of Vass Police Department is available to assist the Moore County Sheriff's Department in their investigation into the culprits behind this vile sign."

The Moore County Sheriffs office told ABC11 they are in possession of the banner and are working to find out the meaning behind it and how it got there.

The investigation comes just hours before the first night of Hanukkah. Apex and Raleigh held events to celebrate the holiday. In Raleigh, Mayor Mary Anne Baldwin lit the first candle of the Hanukkah Menorah that is placed outside of the Duke Energy Center.

Organizers like Rabbi Zalman Dubinsky reflected on the holiday and the current climate in this country. Dubinsky shared he also experienced the behavior Sunday morning while at a coffee shop with his young daughters.

"As soon as they saw me, they very loudly went on this whole rant, there's been certain celebrities and athletes lately, as I'm sure you know of some things that could put the menorah to work, right?," Dubinsky. "And they went on, they went on that line of talking for a while. And they were eventually asked to leave the coffee shop."

Despite the growing number of anti-Semitic acts, Jewish community leaders said they will rise above the hate and encourage others to do the same.

"Be that candle of light in your family and your community and your city in a world which so often desperately needs it. And God willing, the message of the Hanukkah Menorah will be strong throughout the world and the upcoming year, which will be a year of light, a year of love," continued Dubinsky.

Mayor Mary Anne Baldwin also commented on the incident in Moore County.

"I can't even describe the feeling. And when we see things like that happen, first off, it's unacceptable. But the second thing is, this is why we're doing what we're doing in Raleigh. Because we want to be a community that celebrates everyone. We want to be that community that loves everyone," she said.

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