British foreign secretary hosts candlelighting

LONDON (JTA) — The British foreign secretary hosted a Chanukah candlelighting ceremony.

David Miliband was joined at Monday’s ceremony by Britain’s chief rabbi and the president of the Jewish Board of Deputies. Last year he was the first British foreign secretary to host a candlelighting ceremony and said he hoped it would become an annual tradition.

Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks spoke about the importance of peace to the Jewish people, and wished Miliband success in his effort to promote peace in the Middle East and throughout the world.

A children’s choir from a Jewish school in North London sang Chanukah songs.

The ceremony was held at Lancaster House, the building where the British government planned to hold a 1946 peace conference between the Jews of Palestine and the Arab states. The conference never took place because the Arab leaders insisted that Jerusalem would not be divided and would remain in their hands as a precondition to taking part.

Candlelighting ceremonies were held in many cities throughout Britain. In Oxford, a cherry picker was used to lift Chabad Rabbi Eli Brekman and the Lord Mayor Susana Persel to light the giant menorah in the city center.

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