FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
5th December 2018
Jewish community gathers in Trafalgar Square to celebrate Chanukah
The Jewish community gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to #UniteUnderTheLight for a fun and entertaining evening to celebrate Chanukah, the festival of light, with exciting new musical acts, speeches and performances.
There were a number of headline acts including the Solomon Brothers (as seen on “The Voice”, Israel), the Kedma Band with Rabbi Levene, alongside traditional performances from Akiva School Choir, appearances around the Square from Dreidleman and speeches from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Kahn, Israeli Ambassador, Mark Regev, and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis. The evening was compèred by award winning comedian Rachel Creeger.
It is estimated that more than 3,500 people attended the event.
Chanukah in the Square this year was an opportunity for the Jewish community to come together in unity to celebrate a festival, which commemorates the triumph of light over darkness.
A new, temporary menorah was used for the event this year, allowing the event to continue to be a source of pride and a symbol of unity for everyone in the Jewish community.
We were thrilled that there were so many people from the Jewish community, other faiths, backgrounds, and people from all over London joined us to celebrate Chanukah.
The menorah will stay up in Trafalgar Square for the duration of Chanukah, with a new light added on each night of the festival.
Chanukah in the Square this year was jointly presented by the Jewish Leadership Council, Chabad Lubavitch UK, London Jewish Forum, Genesis Philanthropy Group and supported by the CST and Mayor of London.
Jonathan Goldstein, Chair, Jewish Leadership Council said:
“Chanukah in the Square is a special event in our communal calendar. The JLC is proud to be a part of this public celebration of our community and I was honoured to light the menorah with friends from across the country and all denominations and to shine a light on our faith, history and heritage.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said:
“This year it is more important than ever that Jewish Londoners and visitors of all backgrounds are able to come together to celebrate Chanukah in Trafalgar Square.
“Chanukah celebrates freedom from religious oppression and is ultimately a story about the triumph of light over darkness.
“I am proud to be Mayor of a city which embraces its diversity - and proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Jewish Londoners as we light the menorah and reflect on the message of hope Chanukah brings. Chanukah Sameach.”
Adrian Cohen, Chair, London Jewish Forum said:
“Once more Londoners have braved the weather and turned out in great numbers to celebrate with the Mayor of our great city the festival of lights and demonstrate the rich cultural diversity of its people. The message of Chanukah of dedication and freedom remain as relevant today as ever before.”
Rabbi Bentzi Sudak, Chief Executive, Chabad Lubavitch UK said:
“What special evening it was! Anglo Jewry proudly celebrating together under the bright lights of the Menorah! The Solomon Brothers really electrified the crowd. Tonight's event demonstrated how vibrant, upbeat and united our community is, and how lucky we are to live in this great city. As a community, we are ending 2018 on a high. On behalf of all of Chabad around the country, I thank our partners, the JLC and LJF, the tireless team at the CST for the Security, and a special thank you to the Genesis Philanthropy Group for their generous support.”
Mikhail Fridman, Co-Founder and Trustee of Genesis Philanthropy Group said:
“I was born and grew up in the city of Lviv in Ukraine at the time of the former Soviet Union. For us then, it was impossible to celebrate our Jewish Holidays and impossible to proclaim our Jewish identity in public. So it is extremely special for me to have shared the joy and memory of Chanukah around this Menorah in Trafalgar Square, just as we proudly display our own menorahs in the windows of our homes, where their lights are visible for all to see. Celebrations like this go a long way to encourage young Jews across the world to feel safe, confident and proud of their heritage, identity and values.”