From London to Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Glasgow and beyond, from large communal gatherings to small family get-togethers, the festival of lights has been well and truly marked in style. Last night in London, an estimated 3,500 people packed Trafalgar Square for Chanukah in the Square. The event was jointly presented by the Jewish Leadership Council, Chabad Lubavitch UK, London Jewish Forum, Genesis Philanthropy Group supported by the CST and Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
“This year it is more important than ever that Jewish Londoners and visitors of all backgrounds are able to come together to celebrate Chanukah, which celebrates freedom from religious oppression and is ultimately a story about the triumph of light over darkness,” Mayor Khan said.
He added, “I am proud to be Mayor of a city which embraces its diversity and proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Jewish Londoners as we light the menorah and reflect on the message of hope Chanukah brings. Chanukah Sameach.” Headline acts including the Solomon Brothers, the Kedma Band with Rabbi Levene and the Akiva School Choir. The menorah will stay up in Trafalgar Square for the duration of Chanukah, with a new light added on each night of the festival.
“Chanukah in the Square is a special event in our communal calendar,” commented Jonathan Goldstein, Chair, Jewish Leadership Council. “The JLC is proud to be a part of this public celebration of our community. I was honoured to light the menorah with friends from across the country and all denominations and to shine a light on our faith, history and heritage.”
Adrian Cohen, Chair of the London Jewish Forum added, “The message of Chanukah of dedication and freedom remains as relevant today as ever before.”
Rabbi Bentzi Sudak Chabad Lubavitch UK Chief Executive, noted, “What a special evening, Anglo Jewry celebrating together under the bright lights of the Menorah! Tonight’s event demonstrated how vibrant, upbeat and united our community is, and how lucky we are to live in this great city. As a community, we are ending 2018 on a high.”
Israeli Ambassador, Mark Regev, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis gave addresses during the evening compèred by award-winning comedian Rachel Creeger.
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl and Luciana Berger MP were among dignitaries in attendance.