Friday, December 4, 2015

Celebrating Chanukah in Asheville

This December Jews around the world will celebrate Chanukah, the eight day Festival of Lights that runs from December 6-14.  To celebrate, we're highlighting some selections from the Jewish Life in Western North Carolina collections that show how the Jewish community in Asheville has celebrated Chanukah.
Menorah at Congregation Beth Israel

Beth Ha Tephila was founded in 1891 and is Asheville's oldest synagogue. This program is from the Chanukah Festival that was done by the Asheville Hebrew Sunday School on December 6, 1896. The program is from the Beth Ha Tephila Congregation Collection.







Congregation Beth Israel was chartered in Asheville in February, 1899, just a few years after Beth Israel. This 1979 newsletter from the Congregation Beth Israel Papers includes the essay "What You Should Know About Chanukah" by Rabbi Samuel A. Friedman.




This 1983 photo from Beth Israel shows Rabbi Paul Grob and two members of the congregation lighting the menorah.


And while not specifically related to Chanukah, another seasonal event that bears mention is also documented in the Jewish Life in Western North Carolina collections. Lou Pollock was a prominent member of the Jewish community, noted for his work with the Jewish cemetery. He owned Pollock's shoe store in downtown Asheville, and every Christmas he would host a party at his store and donate pairs of shoes to children in need. This photo shows one of the Christmas parties in his store.


Lou Pollock is standing in front of the crowd on the right, holding a young girl. The nuns are from Asheville's St. Genevieve-of-the-Pines school. This photograph probably dates from the 1950s, and is part of the Ada and Lou Pollock Collection

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