Chanukah 2014

December 17, 2014 by J-Wire Staff
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Chanukah celebrations…

 

Rabbi Levi Wolf and Steven Lowy at the Westfield Sydney Sky Lobby Bar

Rabbi Levi Wolff and Steven Lowy at the Westfield Sydney Sky Lobby Bar      Image: Ben Apfelbaum/J-Wire

The Westfield city site is situated in close proximity to Martin Place, the scene of this week’s tragic siege. The Central Synagogue’s Rabbi Levi Wolff told J-Wire: “We expected a small crowd of young adults but the venue was packed with people of all ages. We held a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the siege. Westfield’s Steven Lowy lit the Menorah at the event at which the local The Great Synagogue was represented by its president Justice Stephen Rothman. Rabbi Wolff addressed the gathering.  He added: “The special moment for me was the singing of Moah Tsur. This normally happy cheerful celebratory song was sung in a mellow and almost sad way as the events of the week permeated the thoughts of all. But the spirit of Chanukah took over uplifting all who attended and the Chanukah lights shone in a location close to where Sydney has experienced its darkest hour.”

 

Rabbi Yossi Friedman celebrates Chanukah with the ADF

Rabbi Yossi Friedman celebrates Chanukah with the ADF

 

Flight Lieutenant Rabbi Yossi Friedman visited the Australian Defence Force at Sydney’s Garden Island where they told the story of Chanukah and lit the Menorah.

From Auckland Keren Cook reports:

 

Chabad Rabbi Mendy demonstrates how to lay Tefillin with Reuven Gooding in Auckland. Image/ Keren Cook

Chabad Rabbi Mendy Goldstein demonstrates how to lay Tefillin with Reuven Gooding in Auckland. Image/ Keren Cook

Hundreds braved a wind-swept evening in Auckland’s Albert park to celebrate the first day of Chanukah.

Jewish families from Auckland and the wider community came together to celebrate the festival of lights, otherwise known as ‘Chanukah’. The event was organised by the Jewish Federation of New Zealand and has been running for two years.

Chanukah runs for eight days, and each night is marked with a lighting of the candle.  Over the eight nights one candle is lit each evening from right to left on the ‘Menorah’ which is a nine branched candle stick.  The centre of the Menorah holds the taller ‘Shammus’ candle and is a spare candle for productive use only.

The first candle was lit in Albert Park’s band stand at sunset as part of last evening’s celebrations

Chanukah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays, not because of any great religious significance, but because of its proximity to Christmas. Many non-Jews think of this holiday as the Jewish Christmas, adopting many of the Christmas customs, such as elaborate gift-giving and decoration.

A traditional gift of the holiday is “gelt,” small amounts of money. Children were particularly enjoying the chocolate gelt and festive atmosphere.

Music and food were central to the evening. Visitors to the park enjoyed live music from the talented Truppman Brothers and the well-known American Klezmer musician, Yale Strom. The famous Jews Brothers also played their lively and diverse and repertoire.

Kosher food stands served delicious falafel pita-pockets, lamb shwarma, fresh food from Auckland’s well-known Israeli restaurant Ima’s and Jewish deli style food.  Sugar donuts were in hot demand as it is traditional to eat fried foods because of the significance of oil to the holiday.

Chanukah in the Park MC Karin Horen said the festival was all about the children. The Jewish community offered a variety of activities over the course of the evening including: story-telling, demonstrating how to lay ‘tefillin’, arts and crafts and games.

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