Fox Chapel menorah shines with community support
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ChanukahLittle bit of light goes a long way

Fox Chapel menorah shines with community support

Chanukah allows new menorah to illuminate suburban sentiments

New menorah in Fox Chapel highlights community. (Photo courtesy of Dana Rofey)
New menorah in Fox Chapel highlights community. (Photo courtesy of Dana Rofey)

A simple invitation has led to a lot of light in the suburbs.

Months ago, Fox Chapel Police Chief Michael Stevens reached out to Shternie Rosenfeld of The Jewish Spark about supporting the local Jewish community.

Stevens suggested placing a menorah next to the holiday tree outside the Fox Chapel Borough Building.

The aim, he told the Chronicle, was to prioritize community.

Rosenfeld happily agreed, she said, and partnered with community members to acquire a giant LED “state-of-the-art menorah.”

O’Hara Township resident Amy Jaffe Mason helped fundraise for the menorah’s purchase.

After seeing it aglow, Mason was beaming.

“It’s very exciting that the borough has this menorah,” she said. “I went to the gym today and the menorah is the talk of the town; everyone is commenting on how the menorah is changing colors, and how beautiful it looks next to the borough’s Christmas tree with the lights.”

Chanukah began Dec. 7, but Fox Chapel residents got a preview of the menorah’s power last week: On the evening of Dec. 6, the menorah’s base was illuminated during Light Up Fox Chapel, a communitywide program.

O’Hara Township resident Dana Rofey said the event clearly indicated the borough’s embrace of its Jewish community.

“All of us who are part of the Pittsburgh Jewish community have long known that the city is supportive, but the suburbs have not always had the same sense,” she said. “Fox Chapel always had a small Jewish community — I could probably name all of my Jewish classmates growing up without thinking too hard — but now that there’s The Jewish Spark and Adat Shalom and non-Jewish police officers reaching out, it’s so meaningful,” she said.

With Chanukah well underway, the new menorah is providing a bright reminder of community.

That message will be cast again on Dec. 13 when the public is invited to a grand menorah lighting outside the Fox Chapel Borough Building at 5:30 p.m. for a free event with doughnuts, latkes, hot drinks and live music.

Fox Chapel resident and Jewish Spark President Marc Rice said he’s looking forward to lighting the public menorah, especially given the rise in antisemitism.

In the two weeks following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack of Israel, the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism noted a nearly 400% increase in “preliminary antisemitic incidents reported year over-year.”

“Hopefully a little light will dissipate the darkness,” Rice said.

“We are facing so much darkness in the world but to have a place like Fox Chapel Borough have a beautiful LED menorah lit up during their Light Up night, and then to bring the community together on Wednesday to light together feels very special,” Rosenfeld said. “It feels like a warm Chanukah gift to stand in such a public place with the support of the Fox Chapel community at large.”

Stevens said he is happy to remind residents about the importance of inclusion.

“I think it’s important to reach out to community any time,” he said. “Especially now, with the war going on, they need our support and we’re here to support them.” PJC

Adam Reinherz can be reached at areinherz@pittsburghjewishchronicle.org.

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