A solemn moment at a joyous event

December 11, 2015 by Henry Benjamin
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For a few moments, the dancing and music at the lighting of  a the giant Menorah in Sydney’s Martin Place turned to silence as heads bowed and silence dominated as families, and religious and political leaders stood in silence to remember Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson who died in the Lindt Café siege last year…close by to where the Menorah stands.

Tanya Plibersek, Sophie Cotsis, David Clarke, Rabbi Pinchas Feldman, John Ajaka and Rabbi Elimelech Levy Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

Tanya Plibersek, Sophie Cotsis, David Clarke, Rabbi Pinchas Feldman, John Ajaka and Rabbi Elimelech Levy                Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

Last year’s event was cancelled in respect of the two victims…and the horrific experience borne by the hostages.

David Clarke lights the Menorah

David Clarke lights the Menorah Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

In her address to the crowd in Martin Place last night,  Deputy Leader of the Opposition Tanya Plibersek said: “We have come to this place to remember the terrible events and the innocent victims of the act of terror which took place a year ago. And to tell the families of Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson that they are in our thoughts…and that their loved ones will never be forgotten…not their lives, their contribution and the mark they made on the world. There is a light in every darkness and that light, the unconquerable human spirit, can’t be extinguished.

Tanya Plibersek Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

Tanya Plibersek Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

Plibersek was to later join event organiser Rabbi Elimelech Levy and Liberal NSW politician David Clarke on a cherrypicker as it rose high above Martin Place to light the fifth gas-fired candle on the Menorah.

Minister for Multiculturalism John Ajaka represented Premier Mike Baird at the menorah ceremony, He said: “This time last year, during the time of that tragic siege, all eyes were on Martin Place. We pay tribute to the sad and senseless loss of the lives of Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson we can take hope from the central message of Chanukah. The Festival of Light celebrated the miracle of faith. The triumph of light over darkness and good over evil.”  He said he felt it important to participate in a ceremony which was being observed around the world and which brings a strong message of hope. He said: “It shows the spirit of our multicultural society.” He called for those who have influence “on their own communities” to “join together  across religious and cultural denominations  to build on the strength of our diversity.”

David Clarke, a member of the NSW Legislative Council said that Chanukah is no longer an exclusive Jewish festival saying “it has taken on a universal appeal. It is no longer just a Jewish festival. It has become a symbol of good values over bad

John Ajaka Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

John Ajaka Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

values by people of all faiths and all communities throughout the world.”

David Clarke Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

David Clarke Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

Clarke added: “Last year this ceremony was cancelled because of what took place in the Lindt Café just behind us when an Islamist terrorist murdered two peaceful ordinary Australian citizens going about their ordinary business. A year ago, this area was a carpet of wreaths but today it is a festive day because terrorism will never triumph here in Australia and it will never triumph in the city of Sydney and it will never triumph over the Festival of Light. Not now and not ever.”

Rabbi Pinchas Feldman related the story of Chanukah to a large family audience and asked all present to observe a few moments’ silence in memory of Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson who lost their lives during the siege of the nearby Lindt Café a year ago.

The crowd danced and sang along with a live band headed by singer Eli Marcus backed by Levi Niasoff,

Also attending were Senator Sam Satyari  and Sophie Cotsis, NSW Shadow Minister for Ageing, Shadow Minister for Disability Services, and Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism.

 

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