Hundreds enjoy Jewish festival of lights in Islington
- Credit: Jeremy Freedman
Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights, was celebrated by hundreds at a free event on Islington Green on Sunday (November 28).
The Islington Menorah Lighting is an annual celebration bringing together Jewish and non-Jewish members of the community and was hosted by charity Chabad Islington.
Rabbi Mendy Korer, co-chief executive of Chabad Islington, said: ‘We were thrilled to see so many people join our Chanukah celebration in Islington Green this year.
“There was an eagerness for people to see each other at Chanukah, sing together and make it into a really joyful celebration, picking up from the community spirit that emerged during the pandemic.”
The focal point of the event was the ceremony of lighting the nine-branch menorah - a seven lamp Hebrew stand, officiated by Rabbi Mendy Korer. Mayor of Islington Troy Gallagher and the Leader of Islington Council Kaya Comer-Schwartz were also present.
The Rabbi then led a performance of tribute song Sweet Chanukah - sung with great gusto to the tune of Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline.
He said afterwards: “We wanted to recognise that there was a beautiful spirit going across the UK throughout the summer, singing Sweet Caroline, so we’ve done a remake of it and we were excited to sing the updated lyrics with everybody.”
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There were more traditional Chanukah songs and the electro klezmer set by the collective GhettoPlotz joined by musicians from Oi Va Voi.
Attendees also enjoyed arts and crafts with the Jewish Museum and the Little Angel Theatre, storytelling by Alys Torrance, and hundreds of free latkes, doughnuts, Chanukah gelt and hot cocoa.
The Rabbi added: “While celebrating the Jewish festival of Chanukah, the event brings together Jewish and non-Jewish members of Islington community and aims to promote community cohesion and tolerance in the diverse borough of Islington.
“Chabad Islington worked closely with Islington Council to ensure the event was Covid-safe.”