Hanukkah candle-lighting held at Dubai’s EXPO 2020

The ceremony was held in the Israel Pavilion at EXPO 2020, the 182-day trade fair-style exhibition that has seen over two million visitors.

 Rabbi Levi Duchman lights the Hanukkah Menorah on November 28th, 2021 at Dubai Expo 2020 in Dubai, UAE. (photo credit: Courtesy JEWISH UAE)
Rabbi Levi Duchman lights the Hanukkah Menorah on November 28th, 2021 at Dubai Expo 2020 in Dubai, UAE.
(photo credit: Courtesy JEWISH UAE)

The Chief Rabbi to the United Arab Emirates lit the Hanukkah Menorah at Dubai’s EXPO 2020 on Sunday, the first night of the Jewish holiday.

The candle lighting was held in the Israel Pavilion at Dubai EXPO 2020, the 182-day trade fair-style exhibition that has seen over two million visitors. Last year’s Hanukkah candle lighting – the first in the history of the Gulf state – was in front of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.

Rabbi Levi Duchman, the first resident rabbi of the UAE, recited the holiday’s blessings and lit the menorah in front of a large crowd of leaders, businessmen, Jews living in the Emirates and tourists from all over the world. The festive candle lighting event was accompanied by Hanukkah songs performed by the local Jewish community's children's choir.

The following ceremony would have proved unthinkable just two short years ago, but Israel and the UAE have greatly expanded cooperation since the Abraham Accords, a 2020 joint statement outlining a normalization of ties between the two Middle East countries (as well as Bahrain). Trade between the two has increased as a whole, while partnerships in defense, space exploration and other measures to further cooperation have been outlined since the normalization agreement.

 Rabbi Levi Duchman lights the Menorah at Dubai Expo 2020. (credit: Courtesy JEWISH UAE) Rabbi Levi Duchman lights the Menorah at Dubai Expo 2020. (credit: Courtesy JEWISH UAE)

The international trade exposition “EXPO 2020” was originally scheduled for 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic – though organizers kept the original name.

From October 1, 2021, until March 31, 2022, EXPO 2020 will host visitors and exhibitors from 192 countries around the world in its 1,080-acre space in the Emirates' capital of Dubai.