AUSTIN, Texas - "As we gather here tonight, we are reminded of the strength and resilience of the Jewish people, and we remember that even in times of darkness we can be a light to those around us," says Governor Greg Abbott.
A large crowd waving Israeli flags, singing Hanukkah songs, came together Sunday afternoon, in support of the Jewish community.
"Since October 7th, people have become a lot more proud to be Jewish and express their Jewishness. That's why I am wearing this jacket. I think that it is important that we are not hiding, and we are out here expressing our support of Israel," says Ben Cogut , who attended the Menorah lighting.
Ahead of the menorah lighting, children performed, a prayer was held, and Governor Abbott made an announcement on plans to combat antisemitism.
"We are increasing security at Jewish and Israel-related locations such as synagogues and schools across the state of Texas. I expedited $10 million in grant funding to enhance safety at those locations," says Governor Abbott.
"It's really great that the governor is also so supportive and so I think that is why so many people came out this year", says Cogut.
The governor also showed his support by lighting the menorah.
"Our Jewish community here in Texas feels the assault of antisemitism maybe more than ever at least in recent times," says Governor Abbott.
"Bringing light into the world these are traditions that we have grown up with our whole lives and just the miracle of Hanukkah, the miracle of friends ,
family , and putting love out there," says Ryan Morgan, who attended the menorah lighting.
After the lightening of the menorah, those in attendance were able to take part in the holiday tradition of eating donuts.
"Eating donuts and latkes it’s a traditional food. At the end of the day, it brings sweetness into our lives, and we are here to bring sweetness in other people’s lives as well", says Cogut.
"May this time of love, peace and community burn brightly in all of us Happy Hanukkah and God bless you all," says Governor Abbott.