The annual lighting of the first candle of Chanukah in Berlin, took place on Sunday at the Brandenburg gate, one of Germany’s most important symbols. The torch used to light the Menorah was lit by children of Syrian refugees together with Jewish children from the community.
The Menorah itself, which is considered to be the biggest in Europe, was lit by the German minister of Culture, Professor Monika Grütters and Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal, rabbi of the Berlin Jewish community and the Chabad Shliach to the city. Also present was the chairman of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, Aiman Mazyek and representatives of the mosques in the city.
Two thousand people, Most of which are member of the Berlin Jewish community alongside non-Jewish residents of the city, attended the event, an already on going tradition, which took place at the historic Pariser Platz home of the Brandenburg gate.
“70 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camps and 50 years after the establishment of the German-Israeli diplomatic relation – The Jewish life In Germany has been restored to its rightful place… It is very symbolic that here at the Brandenburg gate – which symbolizes Germany’s greatest moments on one hand and its darkest on the other – we celebrate Hanukah together!” Said minister of culture Grütters, prior to her being lifted by a crane to light the Menorah.
Rabbi Teichtal addressed the audience saying that “Just a few weeks ago we witnessed the Paris terror attack, which has spread darkness and fear all around us. Tonight, we are here to say that light shall prevail over darkness and tyranny. Our presence here is a message which shows that peace and tolerance are stronger than any dispute. Those who spread fear have but one purpose, to destroy the unity and peace between cultures”. Rabbi Teichtal concluded his speech with the words “Am Yisrael Chai”
Alongside the large audience attended numerous ambassadors, including U.S ambassador to Germany John B. Emerson, Israeli delegate to Germany Avi Nir, and the ambassadors of Britain, Poland, Italy, Ukraine, Brazil, Denmark and others.