Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the beginning of Hanukkah, and the important lesson it holds on coming together to stand against all forms of hatred and persecution. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Jewish people around the country and around the world will celebrate tonight, the first night of Hanukkah.
This year, more than most years, Hanukkah comes at a moment of grief, of trial, and of fear for many Jewish Americans. And perhaps for that, it is all the more meaningful. The story of Hanukah is a story of perseverance. Perseverance in the face of unspeakable hatred.
We’ve been taught about how the Jews of a different age – forced from their land, forbidden to practice their religion, their temple destroyed and desecrated – gathered to pray in secret, banded together in the hills and fields, and fought off their attackers.
And once they endured, they set about the hard and slow and painful work of rededicating the temple, and lighting once again the eternal flame of hope.
I believe that America should do the same thing right now: rededicate ourselves to that noble promise of being a land of tolerance for all people, all people. Antisemitism, frighteningly, is on the rise. Islamophobia is on the rise. Hatred and discrimination remain a festering wound in the soul of our country.
We must rededicate ourselves to stand against antisemitism and all forms of discrimination.
We must rededicate ourselves to building a more perfect union, one that preserves tolerance and equality for every single American.
I have faith that the forces of intolerance will lose in the end, just as they did in the days of Hanukkah when Judah Maccabee led the Jewish people against an oppressive majority.