Texas Gov. Rick Perry met with 16 Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis in his private capitol office Tuesday to mark the eight-day holiday of Chanukah.

The delegation, representing each of the 16 Chabad-Lubavitch centers in the Lone Star State, presented the governor with an engraved silver menorah, and took a moment to extend well-wishes from their constituencies.

Perry, an alumnus of Texas A&M University, had special words for Rabbi Yossi Lazaroff, co-director of Chabad-Lubavitch of Brazos Valley, who runs the Chabad House serving the university and met the governor towards the end of the introductions.

"When I introduced myself, he said, 'Now we're talking,' " said Lazaroff, who moved to College Station, Texas, earlier this year.

Perry later showed Lazaroff his boots from when he was a member of Texas A&M's Corps of Cadets, and posed for a picture with him in front of a portrait of Lawrence Sullivan Ross, the 19th governor of Texas and a president of Texas A&M in the early 1890s. Before Perry became governor, there was talk of him also assuming the presidency of the university.

According to the rabbi, the governor then turned around and saw Rabbi Zev Johnson, co-director of the Chabad House at the University of Texas, Texas A&M's main rival.

"You must be the Longhorn rabbi!" Lazaroff said the governor remarked. "I can tell from the orange tie."

Johnson, who took up the reins of the UT Chabad House earlier this year from Rabbi Yosef and Rochel Levertov, co-directors of Chabad-Lubavitch of Greater Austin, is a UT graduate.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, left, welcomed a delegation of 16 Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis to his capitol office for a Chanukah reception.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, left, welcomed a delegation of 16 Chabad-Lubavitch rabbis to his capitol office for a Chanukah reception.
Rabbi Shimon Lazaroff, the Houston-based director of the organization's Texas headquarters, told the governor that Chanukah, which commemorates the victory of a small band of Jews against Syrian-Greek oppressors more than 2,000 years ago, is about freedom of expression and religion. He thanked the governor for recently signing Texas' Religious Viewpoint Anti-Discrimination Act, which protects the right of public-school students to express their religious beliefs.

On behalf of the group, Shimon Lazaroff then urged the governor to continue advocating for finding a way to help fund private schools with public tax dollars. He pointed out that all of the families represented in the room could not send their children to public schools, but nevertheless continued to pay their property taxes.

Perry, who recently went on a tour of Israel, then showed the delegation pictures from his trip.

"Thank you for your love of G‑d, your love of Israel, your love of our state," the governor said, according to the Associated Press.

"The governor was very excited to have us there," said Rabbi Chaim Lazaroff, co-director of Chabad of Uptown in Houston. "It was a rare opportunity for all of us to be in his office. He was very friendly and outgoing."