Chanukah in the Square, held on December 16th 2014, attracted a record crowd of 7500 people, drawn to Trafalgar Square by the 25 foot Menorah, free doughnuts, and music.
The event, organised jointly by The Jewish Leadership Council, Chabad Lubavitch, and the London Jewish Forum, with support from the Mayor of London and Board of Deputies of British Jews, provided an opportunity for the Jewish community and Londoners of all faiths to celebrate Jewish culture with the lighting of the first light of Chanukah in the heart of Central London.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, addressed the crowd, and there were also speeches from the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis and the Ambassador of Israel, H.E. Daniel Taub.
The Blessings for the first night of Chanukah were beautifully sung by the “Three Chazzanim” – Avromi Freilich (Hampstead Garden Suburb), Stephen Leas (Central Synagogue) and Adam Musikant (Lauderdale Road Spanish & Portuguese).
Music and entertainment was a major feature of the event. The crowd sang and danced to music from Neshama, under the direction of Danny Shine, the Jewish and Irish violinist, Daniel Ahaviel, and the highly popular Israeli singer, Itzik Dadya under the musical direction of Gershon Freistadt.
This was the seventh year of Chanukah in the Square. In attendance were many communal leaders, Members of Parliament, Local Councillors and members of the GLA.
Simon Johnson, Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, said “This was a wonderful celebration of Jewish culture, music and faith. We were thrilled with the joyful atmosphere that was created and that so many people came out to share in this most joyful of festivals”.
Bentzi Sudak, Chief Executive of Chabad Lubavitch UK, said “Once again, the Menorah in Trafalgar Square, showed the true spirit of the London Jewish community, gathering in huge numbers with to proudly celebrate our heritage and the message of Chanukah, which, like the lights of the Menorah, endure through all times”
Adrian Cohen, Chairman of the London Jewish Forum, said “’We were delighted with last night’s very successful ‘Chanukah in the Square’. It provides a focal point for the engagement between the city’s representatives with London’s Jewish Community and it is striking that so many thousands of Jewish Londoners came to celebrate in one of London’s most iconic sites, especially after the troubles of the summer and autumn. The heart-warming words of encouragement from the Mayor, Boris Johnson ,were particularly appreciated as was the attendance of Members of Parliament. London Assembly Members and Councillors.