Pueblo To Hold First-Ever Menorah Lighting After A Bomb Threat Rallied The City Around Temple Emanuel Synagogue

December 22, 2019
The Temple Emanuel synagogue in Pueblo is the second-oldest in Colorado and was completed in 1900.The Temple Emanuel synagogue in Pueblo is the second-oldest in Colorado and was completed in 1900.Jeffrey Beall via Wikimedia/CC
The Temple Emanuel synagogue in Pueblo is the second-oldest in Colorado and was completed in 1900.

Pueblo will have its first-ever public menorah lighting ceremony Sunday evening at the county courthouse. 

“This Hanukkah is really special because of what we’ve gone through with the potential blowing up of our synagogue,” said Mike Atlas-Acuña, the president of Temple Emanuel’s board of directors. 

In November, a white supremacist threatened to bomb the historic Pueblo synagogue and the FBI intervened.

The event on Sunday honors the first of eight nights of Hanukkah. The United Hebrew Center, another synagogue in Pueblo, is organizing the event. Pueblo Police Chief Troy Davenport and District Attorney Jeff Chostner are expected to attend.

“There’s going to be a unity walk from the United Hebrew Center to the courthouse and then the lighting of the menorah,” said Atlas-Acuña. “There’s going to be music and refreshments — doughnuts, which is kind of traditional to have at Hanukkah. Anything that’s cooked in oil,” he added with a chuckle. 

He said Hanukkah this year is different because when somebody tried to stop Jewish people from practicing their religion, the community in Pueblo and beyond banded together. Without even asking, Atlas-Acuña said Temple Emanuel received many donations, which have been used to install a new security system with cameras. 

“I’m feeling really comfortable because I feel like we really now have the security that we need plus we have security guards when we meet for service,” he said.

Temple Emanuel will host a party on the sixth night of Hanukkah, where Mike Atlas-Acuña said many guests usually attend. He said the threat to the temple was a gift.

“Hanukkah is about religious freedom,” he said. “Everybody who practices religion in this country can really get behind this holiday because it really is based on the Jews winning a battle so they could continue to practice their religion.”  

If You Go

Where: Pueblo County Courthouse 215 W 10th St, Pueblo, CO 81003

When: 
- 3 p.m.: Lecture from Rabbi Boaz from the Chabad Jewish Community of Colorado Springs on the Kabbalah of Hanukkah
- 4:30 p.m.: Unity walk from the United Hebrew Center, 106 W. 15th St., to the courthouse steps
- 5 p.m.: Menorah lighting event

More info: https://www.facebook.com/events/2740385482684150/