Politics & Government

State House menorah lighting honors memories of Pittsburgh synagogue victims

Naomi Farber lights the Isadore E. Lourie Memorial menorah during a celebration on the third night of Chanukah at the South Carolina State House Tuesday Dec. 4, 2018, in Columbia, SC.
Naomi Farber lights the Isadore E. Lourie Memorial menorah during a celebration on the third night of Chanukah at the South Carolina State House Tuesday Dec. 4, 2018, in Columbia, SC. gmcintyre@thestate.com

The fatal shootings of 11 Jewish men and women at a Pittsburgh synagogue in a hate-fueled attack in October brought back painful memories for Anita Zucker’s mother, a Holocaust survivor.

“It just made everything so vivid and so real,” the Charleston businesswoman and philanthropist, whose mother will turn 95 on Wednesday, said Tuesday night.

The memories of those killed Oct. 27 at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Congregation were honored during a menorah lighting Tuesday marking the third night of Hanukkah at the S.C. State House.

Helping to mark the night were Gov. Henry McMaster, his wife, Peggy, state Rep. Beth Bernstein and former state Sen. Joel Lourie. The State House menorah is named for Lourie’s father, the late state Sen. Isadore Lourie.

“For the past five weeks, we have been in mourning, grieving for the lost lives, the family and the friends of the dead and wounded,” said Rabbi Hesh Epstein, head of Chabad of South Carolina. “Suddenly, being Jewish in America was being compared to the darkest days of European anti-semitism.”

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said he will work to ensure Columbia does not tolerate the rhetoric that motivated the Pittsburgh shooter.

“We’ll be intolerant to racism. We’ll be intolerant to bigotry,” he said. ”We’ll be intolerant to antisemitism. We’ll be intolerant to hate, and we will work every single day to make sure that this year ... (that) we will do everything we can locally, nationally and globally to make sure these things never happen ever again.”

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Maayan Schechter (My-yahn Schek-ter) covers the S.C. State House and politics for The State. She grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and graduated from the University of North Carolina-Asheville. She has previously worked at the Aiken Standard and the Greenville News.
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