Chanukah in the Square attracted a record crowd of 7500 people, braving the cold in London’s iconic Trafalgar Square to enjoy the the 25 foot Menorah, free doughnuts, and live music.
The event was organised jointly by The Jewish Leadership Council, Chabad Lubavitch, and the London Jewish Forum, with support from the Mayor of London and Board of Deputies of British Jews for Tuesday 16 December.
Speakers included The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis and the Ambassador of Israel, H.E. Daniel Taub, with Boris’s speech in particular proving popular, making making many festive references.
One of the highlights of the event was the Blessings for the first night of Chanukah, which were sung by the “Three Chazzanim” – Avromi Freilich (Hampstead Garden Suburb), Stephen Leas (Central Synagogue) and Adam Musikant (Lauderdale Road Spanish & Portuguese).
They were complemented by music from Neshama under the direction of Danny Shine, the Jewish Irish violinist, Daniel Ahaviel, and the popular Israeli singer, Itzik Dadya.
Many communal leaders, MP, Councillors and members of the GLA attended, and most commended the event’s success.
Simon Johnson, Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said “This was a wonderful celebration of Jewish culture, music and faith. We were thrilled with the joyful atmosphere that was created and that so many people came out to share in this most joyful of festivals”.
Chabad Lubavitch UK’s Chief Executive Bentzi Sudak, lauded the atmosphere; which “showed the true spirit of the London Jewish community, gathering in huge numbers to proudly celebrate our heritage and the message of Chanukah, which, like the lights of the Menorah, endure through all times”
Chair of the London Jewish Forum, Adrian Cohen, also praised the event as providing “a focal point for the engagement between the city’s representatives with London’s Jewish Community”.
“The heart-warming words of encouragement from the Mayor, Boris Johnson ,were particularly appreciated as was the attendance of Members of Parliament. London Assembly Members and Councillors.”
Photo credit: © Yakir Zur