Happy Chanukah! Hundreds attend Islington Menorah lighting

Menorah Lighting

Menorah Lighting - Credit: Archant

Over 600 people, including local MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry, crowded onto Islington Green last Sunday to celebrate Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights.

The highlight of the event, which is now in its fifth year, included the lighting of the menorah (a nine-branched candelabrum used on the Jewish holiday of Chanukah) and to sing traditional Chanukah songs.

Hosted by the Jewish outreach organisation Chabad Lubavitch of Islington and supported by Islington Council, the event was open to the whole community and all ages, and included several free activities.

A live klezmer band performed throughout the evening, while a Chanukah-themed glow-in-the-dark entertainer wandered through the crowd. There was also face-painting, dreidel playing and a dreidel-making workshops provided by Cass Art to keep the younger visitors occupied. Refreshments included doughnuts and latkes, Piacha teas and hot cocoa.

There was also a raffle, with six people going home with prizes that included a family pass to the Tower of London, a tour of Arsenal Stadium, and many others.

Rabbi Mendy Korer, the co-founder of the Jewish institution Chabad Islington, said: After five years of building up our warm and inclusive community here in Islington, it is truly amazing how we have grown to this size, thank you all for joining the event. We hope people will continue to engage in our various communal, education and social events.”

During the event, Islington North MP and Labour Leader Mr Corbyn and Islington South MP Ms Thornberry delivered speeches.

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“Fantastic to see such a great crowd,” Mr Corbyn said. “A huge thank you to Rabbi Mendy for organising this year and all the previous years, and bringing the community together to celebrate Chanukah, to celebrate as all of our communities in Islington.”

Ms Thornberry added: “A festival like this, which is basically about hope, it’s about optimism and it’s about belief, is a festival for all of us, whatever background we have. Happy Chanukah, happy holidays, happy Christmas!”

Other attendees included Council Leader Richard Watts and Mayor of Islington Richard Greening.

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