Jay-Z inaugurated the opening of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center by lighting a candle on a menorah for each of the eight days of his concert series, which began late September. The hip-hop superstar and producer asked his his concert producer to get him a chanukiah to light.
The producer asked his Jewish brother-in-law Amit Wehle, who lives next door to the arena to bring one over. Wehle gladly obliged. His brother-in law received on as a wedding gift, who later said that “knowing my menorah would be burning bright for Jay-Z, Beyoncé and the band backstage, warmed my heart.”
“Let me pause to explain what a menorah is for those who may not know: It’s a nine-branched candelabrum lit each night…” Wehle also said. “Now Jay-Z and his team wanted to light one candle for each night of their eight-concert run, held in their own Holy Temple [Editor’s note: l’havdil!]. So, already feeling a kinship with [Jay-Z] from my chance living at his old residence, I jumped at the idea.”
Jay-Z later came by his old building to film a documentary; he thanked Wehle for using it. It is still not abundantly clear what inspired the New York legend to light a menorah in October at the concert—two months before the Chanukah holiday—aside from the concert series being eight days long. So we’ll just assume the sacrilege was well-meaning. After all, how often does the Jewish people get a shout-out from one of the biggest names in hip-hop?