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Paris Defies Terror To Celebrate Hanukkah

paris-hanukkah-candle-lighting- Credit: Chabad.org / Thierry Guez

Some 6, 000 people gathered in Paris under heavy security for the public lighting of a Hanukkah menorah at the base of the Eiffel Tower, despite security concerns in the wake of last month’s terrorist attacks.

The annual public menorah-lighting at the base of the iconic Eiffel Tower—a decades-old French tradition—is organized annually by Chabad-Lubavitch.

The eight-day holiday began after sundown on Sunday. Before the event started, individuals milled about in the 50-degree weather—fairly mild for a European evening in December. Parents held young children, while others clapped along to the live music, waiting patiently as the crowd grew larger and the speakers became more animated. “Quelle joie extraordinaire!”—“What extraordinary joy!” rang out in the night air.

“Chanukah celebrates the freedom of expression, both individually and collectively. It demonstrates the superiority of light over darkness, of right over might, of hope over fear, ” was the refrain heard over and over again. “Each mitzvah is a light.”

 

hanukkah - Lighting up the Paris skyline. (Photo Thierry Guez)

 

Clips were also shown from Israel of the simultaneous outdoor menorah-lighting in Jerusalem, as well as the celebration and lighting in Netanya—just the tip of the iceberg in terms of exhuberant holiday-related programs around the world.

The first candle on the 30-foot-tall menorah was lit by Chief Rabbi of France Haim Korsia. In French, he said: “For more than 2, 200 years, the Jewish people have kindled the lights with hope in mankind and an affirmation of their belief in God.”

After the lighting, he added: “You see beyond the Chanukah lights, the first light that ushers in the possible. Earlier, my friend reminded me that I am the spiritual adviser for a ground army, whose motto is: ‘Anything beyond the possible.’ ”

 

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