Dutch rabbi hosts Muslims at lighting of giant Christian-built menorah


AMSTERDAM (JTA) — The chief rabbi of the Netherlands lit what he said is Europe’s largest kosher menorah, which Zionist Christians built for the Jewish community.

Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs lit the second candle of Hanukkah on the menorah opposite town hall in the southern city of Maastricht on Tuesday, he wrote in a blog post for the Dutch Jewish news site Jonet.nl.

Jacobs had to be lifted on a crane to reach the menorah, which stands 36 feet high.

The menorah, designed according to halachah, or Jewish Orthodox law, was built in 2013 with funding and work of Christians for Israel, a group  founded in the 1970s with international headquarters in Nijkerk, near Amsterdam. The menorah, which was built by a member of the organization in the north of the Netherlands, was transported from Nijkerk to Maastricht for the ceremony, which drew a crowd of 1,000, including representatives from the Christian and Muslim faith communities, Jacobs wrote.

In London, 7,000 people on Tuesday joined Mayor Boris Johnson for a Hanukkah candle lighting at Trafalgar Square — an annual event titled Chanukah in the Square.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin lit Hanukkah candles at his office during a meeting with Berel Lazar, one of the country’s two chief rabbis.

In Paris, thousands gathered on Tuesday at the Synagogue de la Victoire, or Grand Synagogue, for a commemorative concert in memory of the victims of last year’s attacks on the Hyper Cacher kosher shop and the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine. Nachum Segal, the American radio DJ, led the event, which featured life performances by the Israeli singer Yehoram Gaon and Uziah Tzadok.

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