Chabad in Warsaw, Poland, holds public Hanukkah celebration amid COVID-19

Celebrating the holiday openly is considered an important part of Hanukkah, which emphasizes the publicizing of the mitzvah.

Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowsk and Chabad of Poland's Rabbi Shalom Ber Stambler are seen being lifted to the top of a large menorah as part of a Hanukkah celebration in front of the Palace of Culture. (photo credit: CHABAD WARSAW)
Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowsk and Chabad of Poland's Rabbi Shalom Ber Stambler are seen being lifted to the top of a large menorah as part of a Hanukkah celebration in front of the Palace of Culture.
(photo credit: CHABAD WARSAW)
Despite restrictions put in place due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jews in the Polish capital Warsaw still celebrated the holiday of Hanukkah in public.
The ceremony was held by the local Chabad, and saw a massive Hanukkah menorah (hanukkiah) lit in front of the Palace of Culture, a building that was a gift to Poland from Soviet premier Josef Stalin.
Speaking at the event, which did not violate restrictions, Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski discussed the significance of the celebration of Hanukkah in the city, which was both a home and a place of persecution for thousands of Jews throughout history. In that sense, he is happy to see Hanukkah celebrated openly once again.
Also speaking was Chabad's Rabbi Shalom Ber Stambler, who discussed the significance and honor that comes with serving others, a message that seems especially relevant amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Look at the 'Shamash' candle on the menorah," Stambler said. 
"Despite its servant role it is elevated and honored, because it gives light to all other candles. The role of leaders is similar – they also serve others and are this  service only aids to their greatness.”
Celebrating the holiday openly is considered an important part of Hanukkah, which emphasizes the publicizing of the mitzvah.
Chabad is one of the most active Jewish groups holding Hanukkah celebrations around the world, having lit some 15,000 large public menorahs around the world, deploying more than 6,500 “menorah-topped cars” and distributing over 700,000 menorah kits and 2.5 million holiday guides in 17 languages.
Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.