The City of Sydney was filled with cheerful and uplifting Jewish Music that made people want to dance and sing along. Such was the beginning of the Chanukah in the City annual event hosted by Chabad Youth NSW under the auspicious of Chabad NSW and in association with CBD Chabad.
Children had their faces painted and received all kinds of gifts of flashing dreidel glasses and Menorah headbands, oodles and chocolate coins, crafts and more and more. They also enjoyed the exhilarating dinosaur simulator and fishing game. Unfortunately the Jumping castle could not stand due to the strong winds in the area.
At the event the assembled were honored with government representatives of both sides of the political divide. The Hon. Scott Farlow MLC represented the Premier of NSW and Deputy Lord Mayor Linda Scott spoke for the City of Sydney. The Hon. Peter Primrose MLC represented the Labour Party and the Hon. David Clarke MLC gave a powerful talk on the vision of the Lubavitcher Rebbe who saw to break the trend of keeping our celebrations private and instituted Public Menorah Lighting’s all over the world to share the light of Chanukah and the values of the Jewish religion.
Rabbi Pinchus Feldman OAM spoke of the courage of the Macabes and the great miracles that took place and how we celebrate the miracle of the Oil as the focal point of Chanukah which is a lesson for us all to stand strong to bring light to the world around us through acts of goodness and kindness.
Cantor Yehoshua Niasoff sang the prayerful song of Ose Shalom as a tribute to the 11 victims of the Pittsburgh massacre as well as the victims of the Sydney Siege that took place in Martin Place in 2014.
Of course there were jam Doughnuts and a Bar-B-Que in good Aussie fashion. Although the wind initially held back to lighting of the Giant Menorah standing close to ten meters in the air. As the sun set and the lights glowed in evening sky, all could see that Chanukah was here.
Taking the Cherry Picker or locally known as a knuckle boom up, close to 10 meters in the air to light the Giant Menorah, Rabbi Elimelech Levy, Director of Chabad Youth and event coordinator chose not to take anyone else up due to an experience that took place last year where one of the local politicians together with the Rabbi had to climb down out of the cherry picker due to mechanical malfunction half way down.
Following the Giant Menorah lighting, those present were treated to a grand performance by the amazing James Bustar and his comical juggling act that was exceptionally funny and entertaining.
The evening ended with the grand public raffle for the National Menorah Colouring Competition, a joint venture between Chabad Youth NSW and the Wentworth Courier who published close to 60,000 copies of the competition page for the chance to win an Xbox One S 1TB with extra controller and free game.
The winner of the competition was Avishay Kessel of Kesser Torah College.
The event was coordinated by Chabad Youtht NSW directed by Rabbi Elimelech and Chana Levy.
A big thank you to all our generous sponsors who helped ensure that the lights of Chanukah burn bright in the heart of Sydney Australia.
A big thank you to the Bochurim who helped with the Car Menorah Parade that drove though the streets of Sydney reminding all of the miracles of Chanukah and to those who took the Olive Press and Menorah workshop to schools and organisations to provide a hands on experience to the story of Chanukah.
Pictures curtesy of Noel Kessel