‘Chanukah in the City’ Pays Tribute to Victims of the Sydney Siege

December 30, 2016 by Sophie Deutsch
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To honour the victims of the Lindt Café tragedy, the public Menorah lighting at Martin Place, Sydney, was imbued with emotional messages of peace and compassion.

Lighting the Menorah

From “the miracle of the rededication of the Holy Temple and the siege in Martin Place, separated by time and geography and culture, we can draw inspiration for the type of culture we want for our city and for our nation,” stated Kerryn Phelps, an Australian politician and medical practitioner. “Instead of division, we can choose inclusiveness. Instead of ignorance, we can choose understanding. Instead of hopelessness, we can choose faith, faith in our neighbours and friends, and faith in our resilience as a people.”

Kerryn Phelps

In 2014, for the first time in almost thirty years, Chanukah in the City was cancelled just days after the Martin Place tragedy occurred.

By lighting the Menorah in Martin Place, we celebrate the triumph of religious freedom over persecution, of good over evil. As Rabbi Feldman exclaimed, “ultimately, it is the light of spirituality that will vanquish the darkness of prejudice, it will vanquish the darkness of bigotry.”

Today, Jews exercise freedoms that were once suppressed under the rule of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The Festival of Lights is a celebration of religious freedom, tolerance and resilience against all odds, formidable traits that were exhibited by the victims of the Lindt Café Siege.

Despite the emotional significance and power of the message conveyed, an atmosphere of vibrancy nonetheless resonated. Families enjoyed Chanukah delicacies such as sufganiyah and gelt, whilst dancing joyously beneath a beautifully lit Menorah.

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