Chanukah – Sydney and Melbourne

December 28, 2011 by J-Wire Staff
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In Sydney, a giant Menorah is lit in Martin Place…and in Melbourne the Chanukah spirit was shared among other faiths…

Chocolate Menorah Pic: Mendel Moscovitz

Chabad Youth NSW together with the Yeshiva Centre – Chabad NSW HQ and Chabad of the CBD have hosted the annual candle lighting ceremony commemorating Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights in Sydney’s Martin Place.

Car Menorahs and Chanukah Flags were fixed on top of cars and vans before parading through the streets of Sydney to remind people of the great miracles of Chanukah.

The Parade culminated at Chanukah in the City – a giant Menorah lighting ceremony in Martin Place.  A number of Government representatives gave over greetings including Members of Federal and State parliaments Malcolm Turnbull,  David Clark, Walter Secord MLC, Luke Foley  and Councillor Shayne Mallard representing the Sydney City Council.

Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, the spiritual leader of the Yeshiva Centre, spoke of the message of Chanukah and the power of the individual, as seen by Matisyahu the high priest who stood up against the invading Syrian-Greek empire and their oppression beginning the Jewish revolt for religious freedom.

The event was celebrated by  hundreds of families from all walks of life…an amazing turnout for Summer holiday vacation time.  Special features of the event included Australia’s biggest chocolate menorah standing over 6.6 feet tall, every child received a special gift bag containing chocolate coins, a draidel, 10 cents for charity and a special menorah necklace with coloured lights accompanied by the traditional doughnuts and a BBQ.

Children’s entertainment was provided by a Jumping Castle, Face Painting, Chanukah Balloons and a grand raffle for a sony playstation 3 won by the Garber family.

The feature presentation of the event was the international street performer who ate fire,  juggled knives while eating an apple and than balanced himself on an eight foot pole and juggled fire.

The Girls of Yeshiva Girls Cheder set up a large Mivtzoim stand where they handed out Shabbat candles, chanukah Menoros and  Candles, Holiday guides and  brochures on Kashrus. They also signed people up for Birthday club and the Chabad youth Hebrew School.

Other programs organised included public Menoros displayed in shopping centres and in front of prominently positioned buildings around Sydney.

Chanukah events and activities were  directed by Rabbi Elimelech Levy of Chabad Youth NSW with the Student of the Yeshiva Centre

Chabad Youth NSW is an initiative of the Yeshiva Centre – Chabad NSW HQ.

From Melbourne, Michelle Coleman reports on a multi-faith Chanukah.

Nina Bassat, Daniel Fox and John Searle watch Kelly O'Dwyer light the Menorah

Members of the Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and Baha’i faiths gathered together in Caulfield Park over cocktails and canapés in a celebration of multicultural life in Victoria.

The occasion was an interfaith Chanukah party hosted by the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), designed to showcase our festival and faith to the wider community.

In addition to the JCCV’s many interfaith contacts, members of the wider Glen Eira community were also invited to attend, and represented a diverse range of organisations from local churches and schools to sporting and senior citizens’ clubs.

JCCV president Nina Bassat AM said: “Chanukah is a festival of celebration, of commemoration, but above all, a festival about the possibility of miracles. That we are here today, a disparate of group of people of different faiths, may not be the same miracle as that which occurred in the 2nd century BCE, but it is a miracle nonetheless.

“It is the miracle of modern day Australia, where multiculturalism in its best form flourishes; where we can live side by side amicably, respecting each other’s differences and appreciating the best of all the cultures which surround us.”

JCCV treasurer Ian Jones explained the origins of Chanukah and its message of religious tolerance that is just as relevant today as it was more than 2000 years ago.

Brief addresses were also given by Federal Member for Higgins Kelly O’Dwyer, Member for Caulfield David Southwick, Member for Southern Metropolitan Region Andrea Coote and newly elected Glen Eira Mayor Cr Jamie Hyams.

John Searle, immediate past president of the JCCV and Chair of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, and new JCCV executive member Daniel Fox lit the Chanukah lights, and were ably assisted by Kelly O’Dwyer.

Guests were treated to a feast of Klezmer music and the evening concluded with that traditional Chanukah ‘delicacy’… doughnuts.

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