Sadiq Khan helped to adorn Trafalgar Square with a new 10-metre menorah ahead of the start of Chanukah tonight.
The London Mayor revealed the new candelabra, which uses LED lights, in partnership with the Jewish Leadership Council, Chabad Lubavitch UK and the London Jewish Forum.
Unlike in previous years when Chanukah in the Square brought thousands to the centre of London to celebrate, coronavirus restrictions means no such mass gathering can take place this year.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Jewish communities have been part of the fabric of our city for hundreds of years and the Trafalgar Square menorah lighting ceremony is always a highlight of my year.
“While the coronavirus pandemic means we are not able to gather in person as we usually would, friends at JW3 and the Jewish Leadership Council have worked hard to ensure that Jewish Londoners can join the celebrations virtually.
“At the end of what has been an extraordinarily difficult year, Chanukah’s central message of hope and light in the midst of darkness is more of a comfort and inspiration than ever.”
Ahead of the first night of the festival, Adrian Cohen, Chair of the London Jewish Forum said: “Even in the most difficult of times we have managed to make sure that our city will continue to have a symbolic Chanukiah at the heart of our city.”
Michelle Janes, Interim Co-CEO of the JLC said: “Despite not being able to come together in Trafalgar Square this year, we are happy this symbol of Chanukah will be present to share with all who visit in person or online to celebrate”
After announcing a series of simultaneous menorah lightings across the country, to ensure Chanukah can be celebrated virtually, Rabbi Bentzi Sudak, Chief Executive of Chabad Lubavitch UK, praised the new chanukiyah in the heart of London.
“The innovative design of this year’s digitally illuminated Menorah in Trafalgar Square will bring new light to our City both in the literal sense, as well as in the inspiration its message will bring to all Londoners: that even in the darkest of times, we can each be a source of light to our surroundings and make all the difference”, he said.
During the live-streamed celebrations of Chanukah, there will be performances from musicians and magicians, as well as videos from five synagogue movements.
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