Help make the Bethel Menorah lighting special

Hi, my name is James Kessler and I've lived with my family in Bethel, CT for 5 years. In December of 2019, Bill Hillman and I worked together to organize the first ever lighting of the Bethel Menorah. It was a very special event. The Town of Bethel drew together members the Pagan community for the celebration of the Winter Solstice, along with the local Jewish community to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah.

The deepest meaning of having any collection of winter displays in the center of town is to signify the TOGETHERNESS of our local community. Regardless of any faith or belief, the significance of a Bethel Town Menorah shows the strength and warmth of a community that welcomes a diversity of celebrations.

Please help ensure that the lighting ceremony for the first night of Hanukkah can be a special event this year, and in the future. In order to gather people safely to celebrate together, we need to cover insurance costs. To make the event extraordinarily festive for the occasion, we wish to host live musicians to perform. Two years ago we were able to host a Grammy-Award-winning violinist from NYC. This could only be possible through the generosity of making funds available to pay the hard-working and talented musicians who we hold especially dear around this time of year. Music is one of the most important ways to bring together a community to celebrate a festive event.

In Judaism, it is common to give and receive gifts in multiples of $18 or "Chai", which in part signifies a good omen for life. In fact, the longstanding Jewish tradition of gifting, contributing or donating in increments of $18 to individuals is often considered a good deed and mitzvah. Generally, these gifting rituals take place in connection with the celebration, honoring or remembrance of loved ones. The act of giving, gifting or donating $18 or a multiples thereof is commonly referred to as "giving chai." This nomenclature extends to multiples as the number 36 is commonly referred to as "double Chai." Symbolically, these gestures are representative of giving a gift of "life."

We are trying to raise $1,836 this year to ensure that the menorah lighting celebration in Bethel can carry on not only this year, but increase in its splendor to include live musical performances with small ensembles of musicians. Unfortunately this year we may only have enough for just 1-2 musicians, next year and in the future we would like to be able to host performances with trio or quartet ensembles.

Any surplus funds received beyond the $1,836 will be donated to Brotherhood In Action of Bethel , Inc. --
A Not-For-Profit Organization

  • minimum of $200 / year for insurance coverage for a gathering
  • minimum of $450 / year for a live performance by a small musical ensemble
  • Anonymous 
    • $90 
    • 4 mos
  • Daniel Hogan 
    • $18 
    • 5 mos
  • Randi Oisher 
    • $18 
    • 5 mos
  • Laurie Middleton 
    • $18 
    • 5 mos
  • Honorah O'Neill 
    • $50 
    • 5 mos
See all


James Kessler 
Bethel, CT