Around the globe, Jewish and non-Jewish people came together to celebrate the first night of Hanukka on Tuesday night. In Sweden, a land in which Jewish synagogues recently came under violent attack, the night was marked by the Gothenburg Jewish community lighting a menorah near the attacked synagogue.In Berlin, the Jewish community lit the Menorah at the famous Brandenburg Gate that was often used by the Nazi party as a site for parades and marches. Today, in the place that once exalted the swastika, the largest Menorah in Europe is burning. In India, members of the Bnei-Menashe community lit the traditional candles. The adults and children of that community believe that they are decedents of the lost Jewish tribes of Israel who were expelled from the land of Israel following the conquest of the Northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians in 721 BCE.
While most Jewish people alive today are related to the two tribes who were living in the other kingdom, that of Judea in the south of Israel, the search for these lost brothers never stopped. In Russia, at the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, or Birobidzhan, as it is most commonly referred to, the Menorah was lit at Shalom Aleichem Square, named after the renowned Yiddish writer. The JAO is one of the two Jewish independent territories in the world - the other, of course, being Israel. It was established by Stalin in 1934 and was meant to integrate Jewish needs within the USSR.
The Jewish community lights the first Hanukka candle at Shalom Aleichem Sqare at the center of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, in Russia
Meanwhile in Moscow, the Chief Rabbi of Russia Berl Lazar, who is a Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi, lit the menorah in the famous Red Square. US President Donald Trump wished Jewish people around the world a happy Hanukka in a Presidential statement delivered on Tuesday. "On this holiday," said the American leader, "we are proud to stand with the Jewish people who shine as a light to all nations.” Trump already lit candles for Hanukka during his White House Festival of Lights celebration which took place last Thursday. Unlike previous American presidents, Trump did not extend his invitation to Jewish-American members of the Democratic party or to noted leaders in the Progressive and Reform Jewish movements.A late edition to the Jewish calendar of holidays, most of them rooted in the Bible, the festival of lights is composed of eight days in which Jewish people celebrate a successful uprising against unjust government and a divine miracle in which a meager amount of oil was able to keep the menorah in the temple of God burning for eight days.
Trump hosts White House Hanukkah party (Reuters)