An Auckland Chanukah

December 15, 2015 by Keren Cook
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The Auckland Jewish community has celebrated Chanukah – the Festival of Light.

Enjoying Chanukah

Enjoying Chanukah

A ceremonial lamp – Auckland’s tallest menorah was lit on Sunday in Auckland’s inner city Albert Park. The lighting of the giant Menorah commemorates the eight-day Jewish festival of Chanukah

Event organizer, Alison Dyson is positive about Auckland’s receptiveness to the public event, saying she is expected the large crowd which attended the event – now in its third year.

This year, the weather was kind, Dyson says: “Last year we ran the event in the middle of a storm and we thought that no-one would come. We thought it would be a disaster, but lo and behold we had a large crowd,” she says.

The event started late afternoon ended with the commemorative lighting of the menorah at sunset.

The evening showcased a wide variety of cultural attractions and festivities. This year, Dyson says, “we have organized more food stalls and activities as we are expecting an even bigger crowd to previous years.”

Food stalls served Israeli and Mediterranean cuisine and drinks, including special Hanukkah donuts, falafel, shawarma, hummus, hot drinks and juices. There was even a unique Israeli non-alcohol black beer suitable for the whole family.

UnknownThe evening also included live music from the Truppman Brothers, Jazz artist Alan Brown, and his band Simcha (means happiness in Hebrew), the famous Jews Brothers as well as the lively Israeli group Sababa.

Chanukah is celebrated annually in December and dates back to the second century BC when the Greeks invaded Israel.

A miracle is believed to have occurred during the battle to rededicate the Temple of Jerusalem when a small amount of oil, expected to last no longer than 24 hours, burned for eight days.

Traditionally, families celebrated the miracle each night during the 8-day festival by lighting up to 8 candles on the menorah – one candle for each night.

The menorah used at Chanukah has nine candleholders; the central holder is a different height and is used to light the other eight candles.

The date of Chanukah is based on the lunar cycle. This year the festival began on December 6 and will end on December 13.

Albert Park is a significant park for the Auckland Jewish Community as it is home to the city’s first synagogue.

“The building is on the corner of Princes St and Bowen Ave, it is now owned by the University of Auckland, but is still a special place for the Jewish community,” says Dyson.


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