Dutch rabbi hosts Muslims at lighting of giant menorah built by Christians

Cnaan Liphshiz

AMSTERDAM (JTA) — The chief rabbi of the Netherlands lit what he said is Europe’s largest kosher menorah, which was built for the Jewish community by Zionist Christians.

Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs lit the second candle of Hanukkah on menorah opposite town hall in the southern city of Maastricht on Tuesday, he wrote in a blog post for the Dutch Jewish news site Jonet.nl.

Measuring over 36 feet in height, Jacobs had to be lifted onto the menorah on a crane.

The menorah, designed according to halakha, or Jewish Orthodox law, was built in 2013 with funding and work of Christians for Israel, a group which was founded in the 1970s and whose international headquarters is in Nijkerk near Amsterdam. The menorah, which was built by a member of that organization in the north of the Netherlands, was transported from Nijkerk to Maastricht for the ceremony, which drew a crowd of 1,000, including representatives from the Christian and Muslim faith communities, Jacobs wrote.

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In London, 7,000 people on Tuesday joined Mayor Boris Johnson for a Hanukkah candle lighting at Trafalgar Square — an annual event titled Chanukah in the Square.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin lit Hannukkah candles at his office during a meeting with Berel Lazar, one of the country’s two chief rabbis.

In Paris, thousands gathered on Tuesday at the Synagogue de la Victoire, or Grand Synagogue, for a commemorative concert in memory of the victims of last year’s attacks on the Hyper Cacher kosher shop and the Charlie Hebdo attack. Nachum Segal, the American radio DJ, led the event, which featured life performances the Israeli singer Yehoram Gaon and Uziah Tzadok.

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