HELENA — Hanukkah begins this Sunday, Dec. 18, at sundown. This year’s observance in Helena is extra special following the Montana Jewish Project acquisition of the historic Temple Emanu-El building.
A menorah lighting ceremony and Hanukkah celebration will be held at the building starting at 4 p.m. Sunday. There will be latkes and other treats and crafts for kids of all ages. Sunday’s event is free and open to people of all faiths. However, people are asked to sign up through Eventbrite in advance so organizers know how much food and crafts they’ll need.
The building, built in 1891, is the site of the oldest synagog in the state. It was sold to the City of Helena during the Great Depression. The diocese purchased the building in 1981 and used it for administrative offices.
Sunday will mark the first Jewish community celebration of menorah lighting in the historic Temple Emanu-El since 1934.
Montana Jewish Project Board President Rebecca Stanfel tells MTN they’re just grateful for all the support they’ve received.
“We feel such a sense of gratitude for the Helena community, the Montana community for supporting us and making it possible for us to be back in this building. And we also feel a sense of responsibility I think to think about the legacy of the folks that built this building and wanting to bring that forward, so we’re just really excited,” said Stanfel.
The Montana Jewish Project also partnered with the Holter Museum of Art and Joy Kelso of Modern Montana Makerie for crafting clay menorahs and dipping candles for Hannukah. Class participants will have their menorahs and candles to light Sunday at the event as well.