Martin Place, Sydney, the spot from where the entire country of Australia was held hostage for 16 hours amid a terror attack one year ago, hosted a festive and joyous Chanukah celebration.
The celebration marked one year since the Lindt Cafe siege, where a lone gunman, Haron Monis, held hostage ten customers and eight employees of a Lindt chocolate café located at Martin Place in Sydney, Australia. After a 16-hour standoff, a gunshot was heard from inside and police officers from the Tactical Operations Unit stormed the café. Hostage Tori Johnson was killed by Monis and hostage Katrina Dawson was killed by a police bullet ricochet in the subsequent raid. Monis was also killed. Three other hostages and a police officer were injured by police gunfire during the raid.
Joined by Federal and State Government Representatives, hundreds of people of all backgrounds made their way to Sydney’s Central Business Centre to participate in the momentous occasion.
Guests were welcomed by MC and event organizer Rabbi Elimelech Levy, Director of Chabad Youth NSW, who introduced Rabbi Pinchus Feldman OAM, Dean and spiritual Leader of the Yeshiva Centre – Chabad New South Wales Headquarters.
Dignitaries included: Deputy Leader of the Opposition the Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for Multiculturalism the Hon. John Ajaka MLC, The Hon. David Clarke, MLC. Senator Sam Satyari and the Hon. Sophie Cotsis, NSW Shadow Minister for Ageing, Shadow Minister for Disability Services, and Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism.
After warm greetings from the dignitaries, a heartfelt and moving B’shem Hashem was sang as a duet by guest performers Eli Marcus and Levi Niasoff in tribute to the victims of the Lindt Cafe siege. This was followed by the Giant Menorah Lighting Ceremony. Rabbi Levy took The Hon. David Clarke and The Hon. Tanya Plibersek in the Cherry picker to light the Shamosh and the Menorah.
The event culminated with the highlight of the evening, a live concert performance by international Jewish Music Star, Eli Marcus.
The concert, accompanied by the Niasoff Band, was so uplifting that it went on for an hour longer than originally planned. Eli sang with passion; there was a great atmosphere, the whole city was filled with exciting Jewish Music celebrating Chanukah.
Photos by Henry Benjamin