‘It’s a public coming-out party for Jews on Prince Edward Island, in a sense.’
The Jewish community of Prince Edward Island lit their first public Menorah on the lawn of the provincial assembly to commemorate the province’s 120th anniversary.
On Sunday evening, more than 60 community members gathered in Charlottetown to see the first light of an approximately three-meter-long electric menorah.
“It’s historically significant. In some ways, it’s a coming-out party for Jews on Prince Edward Island, “a member of the Jewish community, Martin Rutte, says
“I can’t express how ecstatic I was.”
There are eight electric candles and one service light on the Menorah. At sundown each night, a new light will be turned on until the Menorah is entirely lit on the eighth day of Hanukkah.
“In 1898, there was a Jewish store on Grafton across the street. And for that individual to believe that there would be a public menorah lighting on the legislative premises of the P.E.I. Legislature from 1898 to 2021 is incredible, “Rutte explained.
According to Rutte, the holiday is based on the narrative of Jews running out of oil for their Menorah and only finding enough for one day, but it lasted eight days, resulting in the celebration of Hanukkah, the festival of lights.
He explained, “At the end of the eight days, we increase the amount of light that goes out into the world.”
“What a magnificent symbolic to light up the planet, not only for the Jewish community but for the entire world.”
Green M.L.A. Hannah Bell, who contacted Premier Dennis King, helped Rutte get backing for the event, he claimed. Given the current fresh potato trade suspension with the United States, King spoke at the occasion, pushing the Jewish community to eat more latkes, a traditional potato pancake. Community member Joseph Glass is working on a book about Jewish history on P.E.I. According to him, the community has grown to over 200 members.
“The Jewish community has always had its share of problems. On the one hand, there has always been antisemitism, and there undoubtedly still is, but at the same time, the Jewish community has evolved and grown, “he stated
The public lighting of the Menorah, according to Glass, is a culmination of Jewish people on P.E.I. feeling more comfortable showing their religion.
“The parents bringing out their children was very great,” he remarked.