Families come together in South Woodford to celebrate Jewish festival of Chanukah
PUBLISHED: 15:00 31 December 2019
The Redbridge Jewish community were joined by the mayor to celebrate the last night of Chanukah with pride and joy.
A one-off event to light the menorah on the last night of Chanukah, December 29, was attended by several hundred people, members of Woodford Forest United Synagogue and supporters from further afield of all ages.
The menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum lit during the eight-day holiday of Hanukkah, was set up on the High Road overlooking the A406 in South Woodford.
Music was cued, guests invited, holographic glasses procured, and doughnuts and hot chocolate were dished out in the hundreds.
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Prayers were said for those injured during an attack in Monsey, New York, and the theme of Jewish pride, light and the power of light were a focus of the speeches.
The mayor of Redbridge, Councillor Zulfiqar Hussain, and several councillors attended.
After the event several hundred revellers came back to Woodford Forest United Synagogue where they were given hot food, a giant Lego menorah and kids arts and crafts.
Rabbi Mordechai Wollenberg said: "I remember a time when people were afraid to be Jewish in public.
"With all of the uncertainty even in our own community and society, and particularly with what happened in Monsey, it is so powerful to be with hundreds of Jewish people celebrating Chanukah with pride and joy and unafraid to express their Judaism in public, with the support and active encouragement of the civic leadership of the borough.
"The event succeeded beyond anyone's expectations. Now the task is to start planning a permanent menorah for next year to go on the same spot."
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