WARSAW, Poland (JTA) – The Polish parliament held a candle lighting on the first night of Hanukkah.
The ceremony was held Tuesday evening shortly after the inaugural address by the new prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, who has Jewish roots.
Among those on hand were Morawiecki’s father, Kornel Morawiecki; parliament speaker Marek Kuchciński; the ambassador of Israel in Warsaw, Anna Azari; and representatives of Jewish organizations. The prime minister came to the ceremony after his address to offer good wishes in honor of the holiday t0 Chabad Rabbi Shalom Dov Ber Stambler.
Kuchcinski said celebrating Hanukkah in the Sejm has become a custom.
“I believe that the meetings in the Sejm and the Senate held for years during this important time for Polish and Jewish culture shows historic close ties connecting the Polish and Jewish communities living in Poland,” he said.
Stambler pointed out that light is a universal symbol of wisdom and tolerance.
“Today this light flows into the world from the heart of Poland, from the Polish Sejm, as a symbol of unity above divisions with the best wishes for both our nations,” he said.
During the ceremony, Stambler also praised President Donald Trump for his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“The Temple where the original menorah was lit was situated in the physical and spiritual capital of the nation of Israel, which is Jerusalem,” he said. “Jerusalem is more than just a geographical location. Jerusalem represents, in both name and essence, a significant value, which is the value of peace. This value is expressed here this evening at the event that we are attending right now, thus binding this place to Jerusalem.”
On Thursday, a Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony will take place in the presidential palace in Warsaw.