From Jerusalem to Paris, London to Moscow – Jews around the world have been celebrating Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish holiday.
Hanukkah menorahs are special menorahs with 9 candle places, one for each of the holiday’s eight days, plus a special candle used to light the others (known in Hebrew as a “shamash”). (See here for an overview of Hanukkah)
Here is a look at some of the inspirational, and in some cases the more unusual Hanukkah menorah celebrations that took place around the globe this week:
Just weeks after terrorists murdered 130 people on the streets of Paris, an estimated 6,000 people gathered at the Eiffel Tower to watch the lighting of a 30-foot-tall menorah on the first night of Hanukkah in defiance of the increased terror threat level.
On Thursday night, 7,000 people gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to celebrate the lighting of Europe’s largest menorah, attended by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. The menorah is on display between now and 28 December.
A Hanukkah menorah was placed at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate with the first candle of eight being
lit on Sunday by Syrian children joined with local Jewish children.
Amid heightened security, the annual celebration at Brandenburg Gate took place even though many Jews in Germany are hesitant to display religious symbols openly following an increase in anti-Semitic violence in Europe.
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu lit the first candle on Sunday night along side border police at the Western Wall, Jerusalem,
In a speech comparing Israel’s struggle over its existence with the story of the Maccabees, he said, “Israel is a candle in the darkness. Around us is a great darkness and here in Jerusalem, in the State of Israel, we are lifting the banner of the independence and honor of man, for the right of the Jewish People to live free in its land and in its city, the same city that the Maccabees liberated.
The king of Bahrain hosted a candle-lighting ceremony at his palace in the capital, Manama, with some 50 invited Jews present. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa brought a rabbi from Europe to conduct the service in what was the first of its kind since the establishment of Israel in 1948.
Rabbi Moshe Levin recited the traditional blessings while lighting the candles, telling the king, “A little light drives off a lot of darkness. Bahrain under your rule is a little light in a dark world of radical fundamentalism.”
Hundreds of Jews gathered in Revolution Square in Moscow to watch the lighting of Russia’s largest menorah. The event was witnessed by thousands of passers-by, just blocks away from the Kremlin.
Elsewhere in Moscow, a menorah lighting marked the opening of a new Jewish heritage center and synagogue in Moscow’s suburbs.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin lit the candles at The White House with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama earlier this week.
A Hanukkah celebration took place in Maniput, northeastern India, where the Bnei Menashe community trace their descent to the tribe of Manasseh.
The event was sponsored by Shavei Israel, an organization that aim’s to strengthen the ties between the Jewish people, the State of Israel and the descendants of Jews around the world.
And the more unusual…
Around 4,000 balloons make this giant menorah shine in Scheider Children’s Hospital in Petach Tikva.
Meanwhile, the eighth candle of Hanukkah was lit Wednesday night on the world’s largest menorah in an array of changing colors next to the Reading Power Station in north Tel Aviv.
The Israel Electric Corporation made the menorah from nine aerial platforms. The shamash candle (centre) reaches a height of 28 meters, and the eight other candles reach 22 meters. The menorah has been submitted to the Guinness Book of Records.
Congregation Ahavath Sholom combined almost 50,000 lego bricks to create a functioning menorah that is more than 16 feet (5 meters) tall.
Rabbi Andrew Bloom, who came up with the idea this summer, told JTA the menorah sets an “unofficial world record.”
“We called the Guinness Book of World Records and they wanted $11,000 to come out and measure it,” Bloom said. “So we decided we’d be in the Google book of world records. We researched online and figured out that 16 feet, four inches would be the tallest Lego menorah ever built.”
After the menorah is taken apart, the Legos will be donated to various charities serving children.
Christians United for Israel – UK