7,000 gather in London to celebrate Hanukkah

London Mayor in attendance as thousands gather at Trafalgar Square to celebrate Festival of Lights.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Hanukkah in the Square celebration in London
Hanukkah in the Square celebration in London
The PR Office

7,000 Londoners on Thursday evening joined the Mayor of London, the Jewish Leadership Council, Chabad Lubavitch UK and the London Jewish Forum to celebrate Hanukkah in the Square, the biggest annual Hanukkah celebration in the UK.

Set in the landmark location of Trafalgar Square, the celebration included the lighting of the largest menorah in Europe as well as musical entertainment and addresses from the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the Chief Rabbi and Louise Ellman MP.

The celebration featured vibrant musical performances from The Maccabeats, as well as the Neshama band and Akiva School choir. 6,000 free sufganiyot (doughnuts) ensured that the atmosphere stayed strong throughout.

The celebration allowed the Jewish community to celebrate Hanukkah in the heart of the capital, something that is particularly poignant this year following the terrorist incidents that have affected the Jewish communities of Paris, Copenhagen and Israel.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said during the celebration, “The lighting of the Menorah is a special moment in London’s festive season, symbolizing light, hope and freedom, messages that resonate with Londoners of all faiths and backgrounds. Recent events here in London, in our sister city Paris, as well as in other parts of the world, remind us of the importance of cherishing and defending our freedom. Not only our freedom of speech and thought, but the freedom of religion or to have no religion at all.”

Johnson recently visited Tel Aviv, where he lashed out at boycotters of Israel, saying, "I cannot think of anything more foolish than to say that you want to have any kind of divestment or sanctions or whatever or boycott, against a country that when all is said and done is the only democracy in the region, the only place that has in my view a pluralist open society."

Simon Johnson, CEO of the Jewish Leadership Council, said at Thursday’s event, “We were delighted that Hanukkah in the Square was such vibrant, lively, energetic and musical celebration. The Jewish community is privileged to live in a country where our capital city opens one of its most famous landmarks to us every year. It is a great credit to modern Britain that we are free to celebrate our culture and heritage together with Londoners and the many individuals who visit our capital.”

Rabbi Bentzi Sudak, the Chief Executive Officer of Chabad Lubavitch UK, said, “It was amazing to celebrate together with the entire community and a special London Spirit. Like the increasing light of the Menorah, Hanukkah in the Square keeps growing larger, brighter, and warmer with each year. It was a pleasure for us at Chabad Lubavitch to work with the teams at JLC, LJF and the Mayor's Office, a huge Thank you to them.”

Joe Vinson, the Director of the London Jewish Forum said, “I'm so pleased that Chanukah in the Square was once again a great success this year. The Jewish community turned out in their thousands to enjoy the festival of light in one of the world's most famous landmarks, in a wonderful celebration of Jewish culture. The Maccabeats certainly went down well too!

“London Jewish Forum has been overwhelmed by the support offered by politicians such as Boris Johnson and Louise Ellman, and we hope Jews in London and across the world have a Happy Hanukkah," he concluded.