The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will celebrate Chanukah on Monday 19 December by lighting the flame on a large menorah in front of the European Commission’s headquarters in the Brussels EU quarter.
As part of the cultural agenda of Brussels, the city’s Mayor Philippe Close will light the second candle of Chanukah.
The event is seen as a strong sign for the European Jewish community in the wake of the EU’ clear commitment to ensuring a Jewish future and fostering Jewish life as laid out in the EU Commission’s new strategy for combatting resurgent antisemitism and fostering Jewish life in Europe.
European ambassadors and civil servants are expêcted to attend the event.
The lighting, which is organized in partnership with the European Jewish Association and the City of Brussels, will take place on Monday at 18:00 on Schuman Square and will be followed by a concert from the singer Haim Tzvi.
Chanukah, the Jewish festival of lights, is one of the most popular Jewish holidays worldwide. Candles are lit over 8 days to remember the miracle of one day’s worth of oil lasting eight following the reconsecration of the Temple in Jerusalem. Its message of hope, light and emancipation resonates are universal and timely. Celebrations worldwide are attended by heads of states who often light their own candles.
In addition to Monday’s lighting, Chanukah will also be celebrated the next day in the European Commission with the presence of the European Commissioner Janez Lenarčič, honoring Hias Europe, the world’s oldest refugee organisation, first established in the 1880s to help Russian Jews fleeing from pogroms resettle in the United States. Since then, HIAS Europe has had a strong presence throughout Europe, resettling hundreds of thousands of European Jews fleeing from violence and conflict. Today, HIAS Europe is a global humanitarian organization with thousands of employees in 22 countries dedicated to helping forcibly displaced persons, irrespective of their background. During more than a century of activity, HIAS Europe has helped more than 4.5 million people escape persecution worldwide »
EuroChanukah is organised every year by the European Jewish Community Centre (EJCC).