The official ceremony of lighting the Hanukkah menorah took place on December 20 on Defilad Square in Warsaw. The menorah will stay in front of the Palace of Culture and Science till December 26, the last day of Hanukkah.
Among the attendants of the ceremony were: minister Jarosław Sellin, ambassador of Israel to Poland Yacov Livne and the director of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum Albert Stankowski.
„The holiday that we celebrate today is a historical holiday associated with the liberation of the Jewish people, the regaining of freedom, the liquidation of the external occupation that took place in 2 century BC. It is a joyful holiday […] which used to be celebrated in every small Polish town 90 years ago,” minister Sellin said. He also expressed solidarity with Jewish citizens of Ukraine who have to spend this year’s holiday „in the darkness caused by the brutal attack and the war started by Russia”. “Our thoughts are with them today. […] We are praying that this holiday can be celebrated there as well,” he added.
The ambassador of Israel Yacov Livne reminded that “today we remember a historical event that happened 2200 years ago. And we remember it today as if it just happened yesterday. […] We all remember how a small nation could win back its freedom because we had faith and determination.”
“These candles remind us that the highest values win. Just as we are lighting the menorah candles, each one of us is lighting our own inner light, the light we will pass on to others,” said Rabbi Shalom Dow Ber Stambler, chairman of Chabad Lubawicz Polska. He then recited a prayer and lit the menorah lights together with the guests.
The ceremony was followed by a special Hanukkah concert in “Teatr 6. Piętro”. Cantors Avraham Roth and Israel Turgeman, pianist Menachem Bristowski and the Warsaw Camerata orchestra performed Jewish melodies for the guests
Chabad Lubawicz is a Hasidic movement founded in the 18th century in the Lyubavichi village in the Smolensk region. Today it is the largest Hasidic movement in the world, with nearly 250,000 members. Chabad Lubawicz Poland organizes lectures and conferences on Jewish culture and religion, participates in numerous Jewish events and works to build deeper connections between the Polish and the Jewish people.
The tradition of public lighting the Hanukkah candles was initiated by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson. The ceremony was first held in 1974 in Washington D.C.