Rabbis From Across Arab World Celebrate Hanukkah
by Dion J. Pierre
Rabbis throughout the Muslim world are calling on Jews to join them in celebrating Hanukkah.
“Chanukah means dedication, celebrating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in second century BCE, after it was desecrated by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who tried to force the people of Israel to accept Hellenistic culture and beliefs instead of mitzvah observance and belief in God,” the Alliance of Rabbis in Islamic States (ARIS) said on Thursday.
Representing Jews from countries including Azerbaijan, Albania, Uganda, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Iran, Morocco, and Iran, ARIS, founded in 2019, promotes coexistence and supports Jewish life in predominantly Muslim countries.
Chanukah Candles shining bright in Tirana, Albania! pic.twitter.com/UV79FKzF7S
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— Alliance Rabbis Islamic States (@RabbisAlliance) December 19, 2022
Since Hanukkah began on Dec. 18, ARIS members have shared pictures of celebrations taking place Azerbaijan, Qatar, and Kazakhstan. In Albania, Kazakstan, and Kosovo, large menorahs were erected, and in Azerbaijan, the Ashkenazi Community gave away free Hanukkah kits. On Tuesday, Mexico’s Ambassador to Qatar, several Israeli diplomats who stayed in the country during the World Cup, and US Ambassador to Qatar Timmy T. Davis joined ARIS members in lighting the Third Candle.
“At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting,” the group continued. “On the first night, we light just one flame. On the second, night, an additional flame is lit. By the eight night of Chanukah, all eight lights are kindled. May the candles of Chanukah bring healing, light and warmth to our world — With best wishes for a very Happy Chanukah!”