Non-Jewish Americans are lighting menorahs in solidarity with their Jewish friends and neighbors.
“Project Menorah” was started after Adam Kulbersh told his 6-year-old son, Jack, that they wouldn’t be decorating their home this year due to antisemitism following the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel.
He told his non-Jewish friend, Jennifer Marshall, but she responded, “I’ll put a menorah in our window, too. You are not alone.”
Marshall lives in Florida and Kulbersh in California but the movement is spreading across the country through social media as users are posting with the hashtags, “#projectmenorah” and “#onlyloveliveshere.”
“My heart breaks for my Jewish friends and family,” Marshall said. “I’ve been watching so many of them live with increased anxiety and fear. While I can’t solve everything, I can do this one thing. I truly hope other non-Jews will join me standing with the Jewish community at a time when many Jews feel so alone.”
The Anti-Defamation League reported a 400% increase in antisemitic incidents after the Israel-Hamas war broke out.
“Less than 2% of Americans are Jewish and I was afraid that being one of the few houses with Hanukkah decorations might make us a target,” Kulbersh said.
“Historically, whenever Jews have been threatened, there have always been non-Jewish helpers who stepped up,” he said. “Miep Gies hid Anne Frank from the Nazis and saved her diary for the world to see. Activists worldwide fought to help nearly 10,000 Jews escape Soviet oppression. Millions spoke out online and in person in solidarity with the Jewish community after the Tree of Life synagogue massacre.”
The organizer added, “With Project Menorah, I’m hoping to engage those helpers now. With one simple act, your Jewish friends and neighbors will know that you are a safe place, and you’ll be shining your own light into the world. Thank you for your consideration.”
If you’re not familiar with Hanukkah, the organizers provided this information:
Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday known as the Festival of Lights. It honors the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century BCE after King Antiochus attempted to destroy it and force Jews to denounce their Judaism. This year, Hanukkah begins December 7 and ends December 15.
After defeating the king a long battle, Jews returned to reclaim and repair the Temple. The story goes that when they arrived, there was only enough oil left to light the sacred lights for one day, but miraculously, the oil lasted eight.
Hanukkah is a holiday celebrating liberation from oppression. With violent antisemites trying to scare and oppress Jewish communities around the world right now, we need friends like you to shine the light of liberation with and for us.
And if you’re not sure what a menorah is, they explained that as well:
A Hanukkah menorah is the nine-branched candle holder Jews light each night of the Hanukkah celebration. It represents the miracle of our survival as a people. In safer times we light them and put them in our windows to celebrate our joy, our families, our community, and our faith in a better world. But this year, many Jews are afraid to make public expressions of our identity, so we’re looking to our non-Jewish friends for help.
I’ll be participating in “Project Menorah” as a proud Christian Zionist and friend to the Jewish community, and I hope you do, too!