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Australian parliament holds first Chanukah party

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) — Chanukah was celebrated at the New South Wales Parliament House for the first time since the house was established in 1856.

Attendees at Tuesday’s historic event in Sydney — initiated and hosted by the New South Wales Chabad under the auspices of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies — included Premier Nathan Rees, opposition leader Barry O’Farrell and more than 70 lawmakers, a dozen ministers and shadow ministers, and over 100 Jewish community leaders and rabbis.

Chabad’s spiritual leader, Rabbi Pinchus Feldman, presented a silver menorah with the inscription acknowledging “the friendship bestowed by our elected representatives to all faiths, including the Jewish people.”

Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Richard Torbay accepted the gift.

“On behalf of the Parliament and people of New South Wales, it is a pleasure to receive this gift of the menorah, which will permanently be on display here in parliament, and which symbolizes the values and morals which our society is blessed with,” Torbay said.

Jewish Board of Deputies CEO Vic Alhadeff told JTA that “Holding a Chanukah celebration in Parliament House reflects the values of democracy and liberty which the Jewish community shares with the Parliament.”
 

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