It was the late Rabbi Gavriel Noach Holtzberg, who lost his life during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008, who started the tradition of lighting the spiritual and festive lights of the Hanukkah in 2003 at the Gateway of India close to the Taj, which was also attached on the fateful night of 26/11.
Hanukkah is The Festival of Lights for the Jews ‘Hanukkah’ which commenced 5 days ago, with an aim to spread light and love as this festival is celebrated to honour a miracle in history and with an aim to spread peace and goodness.
This year’s public celebration of lighting of the Menorah (candle stand) took place at the Gateway of India in Mumbai lead by Rabbi Israel Kozlovsky, the rabbi of Chabad in Mumbai and the successor of late Rabbi Holtzberg.
Speaking at the occasion, Kozlovsky said, “The festival of Hanukkah goes on for eight days with we adding a light everyday to the Menorah.
Today is the sixth day of the celebration and we are here to spread a clear message of love and goodness as the world needs it the most today. Every candle we light is meaningful and powerful. We all need to spread the light and pray for world peace.”
The celebration witnessed members of the local Jewish community along with expatriates coming together enjoy and the festive time. For Ofer Nof from Israel, today was a bit emotional as he had celebrated the day six years ago with the Late Rabbi Holtzberg and his late wife Rivka.
The first light on the Menorah was lit by Gilad hassid who lives and works in Surat in the diamond technology trade. The following lights were lit by Ilan Divon, commercial attaché at the consulate of Israel in Mumbai.
Says, Divon, “I have lived in Mumbai for four years on deputation and the spirit of Mumbai is so special and welcoming. India and its people is truly special.”
Rabbi Kozlovsky made a special mention to thank the Mumbai Police for the permission given to conduct the celebrations in a public place. India is unique he said and we thank the Mumbai authorities for providing us all the support.
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