Dozens attend first dedicated Hanukkah event
Residents were treated to a happy Hanukkah with live music, speeches and the lighting of a specially built 12ft menorah in the Town Hall Square in Hackney Council's first-ever dedicated Hanukkah event.
People from all backgrounds and ages were entertained by cello and piano music from local musician Kate Shortt, before a welcoming speech from the Speaker of Hackney Cllr Kam Adams.
We were delighted to welcome Hanukkah into the Town Hall Square and learn from its message of which we can all relate to. Sharing traditions and cultural celebrations is what makes Hackney special and it was great to see such a diversity of residents come out and enjoy the festivities.
President of Shomrim in Stamford Hill, Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE, who was honoured in 2013 for services to interfaith understanding, reminded the crowd of the Hanukkah message.
Hackney is a special place that for hundreds of years has welcomed people who have been excluded. Hackney people actually connect with one another. It's a great privilege to signal the lighting of the menorah. It reminds us that light is in our hands. We don't just care about our homes – we want to illuminate our street and our society. Everybody should be touched by this great festival.
The menorah, which will stand in Hackney Town Hall Square for the duration of Hanukkah, will see each of its remaining candles light up by nightfall in the forthcoming days.
Local councillors and residents attended the event, which was the first time Hackney Council has delivered a dedicated event to celebrate Hanukkah after joining it alongside the Christmas Lights Switch On in 2018.
Residents from across the borough came together to enjoy the community spirit and learn about the universal messages of the Jewish festival.
I really enjoyed the music and it’s really great to remind us of the message that even the weak can help. A single candle can’t bring a lot of light but if you have a lot of candles together you get a lot of light so you have this idea of community but also a reminder to turn towards the outside.