Europe's largest Menorah
Europe's largest MenorahFJCU

Every night of Hanukkah 2023, ambassadors to Ukraine from many countries all over the world came to participate in the lighting of the largest menorah in Europe in Kyiv, Ukraine, among them the ambassadors of the USA, Canada, Italy, Austria, France, Germany, Argentina, Great Britain, Switzerland, Finland, Slovenia and Sweden. The mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klitschko and various Ukrainian dignitaries were also in attendance, as well as the Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, the Head of the UN Delegation to Ukraine and the Head of Nativ in Israel Alon Shoham.

The lighting was arranged by the "Federation of Jewish Communities in Ukraine", and its Vice Chairman Rabbi Raphael Rutman, who organizes the event every year and is also responsible for a series of public lightings in Kyiv every evening of Hanukkah, pointed out that in light of the continuing war in Ukraine, it was ever more important to gather together on Hanukkah and spread its message of light and tolerance vanquishing darkness and evil.

On the fifth night of Hanukkah the Mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klichko was in attendance. He was given the honor of lighting the shamosh, which was then passed from Ambassador to Ambassador until it reached the Israeli Ambassador who was honored with reciting the blessings on the menorah, and lighting it.

Rabbi Mayer Stambler, Chairman of the FJCU, was also in attendance at the 5th night giant Menorah lighting on Kreshatik. He mentioned in his speech the words of the Lubavitcher Rabbe, that the fifth candle of Hanukkah is always lit on weekdays and never on Shabbat, and therefore has an even greater role to light the darkness. "We are in a dark time, in great darkness, in a war of light against darkness, both here in Ukraine and in Israel, but we must not give up. With God's help, like the Maccabees, we too will be able to eliminate the darkness and reveal the light of redemption".

In addition to the main lighting on Maidan Square, Rabbi Raphael Rutman also organizes Menorahs and daily public lightings in all the main 5-star hotels in Kyiv. The lightings were also attended by Kyiv city residents as well as foreign dignitaries and hotel guests.

Despite the war, in all the main cities in Ukraine including Kharkiv, Dnipro, Vinnytsia, Odessa, Chernivtsi, Zaporozhye, Nikolaev, and more, Chabad Lubavitch emissaries organized public menorah lightings. These are being held every night in the main squares of the cities, with hundreds of people attending and spreading the light and warmth of the Chanukah miracle.

Throughout Ukraine, 1,200 huge billboards in 82 cities were put up by the FJCU, inviting people to celebrate Hanukkah and help to light up these dark days. It was estimated that over 10 million residents in Ukraine were exposed to the Chanukah messages from these signs.