Rabbi to share history of Hanukkah on the first day of the festival

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Rabbi Salem Pearce will share “The Surprising History of a Strange Holiday” Thursday, Dec. 7, at the Furlow Senior Center in Brookhaven.

The Lincoln County Historical and Genealogical Society sponsors an annual Jewish program in remembrance and honor of Jewish families in Brookhaven who attended the former B’Nai Sholom Temple, now home to the LCHGS Museum, at 227 South Church St.

At 6:30 p.m., Rabbi Pearce will present a brief history of Jews in Brookhaven, and the main program — “Chanukah (Hanukkah): The Surprising History of a Strange Holiday” — free to the public.

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The women of the B’Nai Sholom congregation sold homemade sweets to people on passenger trains that stopped in Brookhaven, as well as to locals, to help raise $150 to purchase the lot on Church Street where the temple was built in 1896. The men of the congregation then built the building.

The building was used regularly for meetings until 1970, when the local Jewish population declined. It remained in use for religious holy days and special occasions, such as weddings.

In the early 2000s, the Friedman, Liverman and Samuels families of Brookhaven and Wesson, as well as the former members of B’Nai Sholom nationwide, unanimously consented to the donation of the temple to the historical society as a way to see the historic site preserved. In 2009, a deconsecration ceremony was conducted and the building was turned over to LCHGS on a 99-year lease.

Jewish artifacts are on permanent display in the museum, which is open to the public 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. There is no fee to visit the museum.