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Special Menorah Used for the Candle Lighting Ceremony at the White House Hanukkah party

Stanley and Roselle Ungar (Roselle is President of Congregation
Beth Israel) and Rabbi Uri and Dr. Dahlia Topolosky

The Menorah

The menorah for tonight's ceremony is generously loaned from Congregation Beth Israel in New Orleans. It was dedicated to the congregation in 1957 by Mr. and Mrs. Harry Lopp in honor of their 25th wedding anniversary. The Lopps were longtime congregational leaders and supporters.

Located in New Orleans, Congregation Beth Israel was severely impacted by Katrina. The menorah was in the building during the flood and was discovered by clean-up crews covered in mold, filth and sewage. It was restored by a local silversmith and relit for the first time in December of 2007.

The menorah is one of very few items from the congregation that survived the devastation of Katrina. Rabbi Uri Topolosky notes, “It is a powerful symbol for us of bringing light into the darkness that August 29, 2005 brought into our lives. As it shines, it reminds us of warm memories pre-Katrina, and encourages us to continue building our future. The discovery of our menorah feels somewhat akin to the ancient Jews who discovered just a little vase of pure olive oil to rekindle their own menorah in the Temple in the aftermath of its destruction. People here really feel blessed to have at least something from the old synagogue.”

Today, Congregation Beth Israel has just broken ground on a new synagogue and they look forward to lighting this menorah as part of the dedication ceremonies next year at Hanukkah.

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