The first public Menorah lit in the World

December 21, 2011 by J-Wire Staff
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Chanukah Down Under…and Westfield Bondi Junction hosts the first Menorah lighting in the world.

In Melbourne…

Premier Ted Baillieu (left) and the Melbourne Menorah

Rabbis and the Politicians celebrated at the Chabad of Melbourne CBD’s yearly Chanukah Cocktail Party in State Parliament, hosted this year together with Chabad of Carlisle Jewish Russian Centre.
500 people turned up to watch the first candle of Chanukah being lit
Rabbi Dr. Shimon Cowen represented the Shliach of Chabad of Melbourne CBD’s Rabbi Chaim Herzog who is currently overseas,
and chaired the evening called  the “Festival Of Light”
Rabbi Yisroel Sufrin spoke about celebrating the spirit of our religion freely in a country like Australia saying that the Menorah has 8 branches and that  Australian Jewry can give back to the Australian people with the warmth of brightness for their light.

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu said that House of Democracy is also a House of Miracles – and that is is “bi-partisan in our support of Jewish people”.

He said that he had been given a driedel and described each of the letters on it and that he keeps it on his desk.
The Premier said that the Jewish community has made a wonderful contribution to Australian life.
Leader of the Opposition Daniel Andrews  said that multiculturism is making us a better fairer community.

David Southwick MLA  Member for Caulfield  said that Chabad of Melbourne in the City has made people more aware of each other from within and without.
He added that there is still work to be done on Antisemitism. Chanukah is a time of celebration and reflection hopefullybecause the holiday seasons are at the same time this year this will lead to peaceful coexistance with one another.

The Menorah Lighting was done with Rabbi Yisroel Sufrin lighting the candle and making the bracha and Premier Baillieu
assisting him.

Rabbi and Cantor Phillip Heilbrunn gave the audience his powerful and beautiful rendition of Chanukah Songs.

Rabbi Pinchus Feldman and Waverley Mayor John Wakefield flanked by two Chabad Greeks

In Sydney, in what is probably a world’s first, the Council of Waverley erected their own Menorah at Bondi Junction.

Rabbi Eli Feldman told J-Wire:  “All the Public Giant Menorahs in this country and around the world are sponsored by Chabad and the various Governments “allow” them to be put up.

However, for the first time in Australian History, and perhaps the world, A government body, the Waverley Council, actually paid for and erected a Public Menorah in Oxford St mall, OF THEIR OWN ACCORD!

They then coordinated with us to come and launch it.

The Central Synagogue's Chazon Cantor Shimon Farkas light the Menorah

Children around the Menorah in Westfield, Bondi Junction

Rabbi Levi Wolff of Sydney’s The Central Synagogue believes the Menorah lit at Westfield’s Bondi Junction Shopping Centre was the first public menorah lit in the world. He thanked the Lowy family who c-founded the global Westfield empire for their help in bringing Chanukah to malls arounf the world.

Rabbi Wolff said in a message to the Lowy family: “Because of our time zone, I believe we were the first public Menorah lighting in he world! ( New Zealand didn’t have a public lighting tonight)  At 6:34pm Sydney time, Westfield Bondi Junction ushered in the Chanukah lights of the world!

It was truly an evening where hundreds and hundreds of young and old felt so proud to be Jewish. One elderly man walked over to me at the evenings conclusion and with tears in his eyes said (in heavy accent) “in my life I had never dreamed, that I can bring my grandkids to a public place and celebrate my Judaism!” ( I shed a tear listening to him).

Thanks for helping change how Jews feel in todays world! ( as for our gentile friends, they stood there with much respect, the girl who looked after the planning of this event from WBJ was a Pakistani young woman, she was great and I told her how spacial it must be for The Jewish holiday to be organized by a fellow Pakistani! She laughed!)

The bottom line is as I said this past shabbes in shule, Gentiles respect Jews who respect them selves!”


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