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Happy Chanukah to all and to all a good night! Wishing all of our readers a very very happy Chanukah! May the lights shine bright tonight and may the spirit of the season fill you inside and out as you radiate peace, love, and understanding and goodwill to all mankind.
It was nine Chanukah’s ago that the fusion of two ancient cultures came together for the first time the first group of Jews ever got to celebrate Chanukah atop the Great Wall of China. The following article written by Mark Franklin of the Sydney Jewish News and appeared on the Chabad Lubavitch of Beijing China / Jewish Community website records that historic occasion:
Two Australian sisters witnessed the fusion of two ancient cultures when they joined the first group of Jews ever to celebrate Chanukah atop the Great Wall of China.
“I was awestruck by the surrounding scenery and the beauty of our Chanukah at the top of the Great Wall of China, for the first time in history,” said Monika Silver, 25, from Sydney.
“It felt like a special bond had been formed for every Jewish person standing at the top of the wall, a spiritual bond between two ancient cultures.”
Silver was visiting her sister Cherie, 22, who is on exchange in China for a year as part of her international Studies degree at the University of NSW.
“To be able to get a group of people together and go celebrate Chanukah in a country that’s so far removed from Judaism is very unique, especially in such an historic place,” Cherie Silver said.
Shimon Freundlich, Rabbi of Chabad Beijing, which hosted the ceremony, said the blessings and invited the vice-president of the China Great Wall Society, which helped coordinate the event, to light the Chanukah.
Speaking at the event, Israel’s ambassador to China, Dr. Yehoyada Haim, said: “This is a historical moment where two great and ancient civilizations come together.”
More than 200 Jewish travellers and members of Beijing’s Jewish community gathered at the Mutianyu site of the wall out-side the Chinese capital to light the first Chanukah candle.
After the candle was lit, they stood in the blistering cold to sing Chanukah songs and eat latkes and donuts prepared by Rabbi Freundlich’s wife.
It was the first time that China had permitted the lighting of Chanukah candles in an official setting, as Judaism is not recognized as an official religion by China’s communist government.
The bond between Jews and Chinese pre-dates that historic Chanukah by thousands of years though! And if you’re in China this Chanukah, check out these Kosher Chinese restaurants in China!
Humbly submitted for your consumption,
—Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)