Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar lit the first Chanukah candle of the giant menorah on the Red Square in the heart of Moscow last night. This year marks the 25th anniversary since the ‘Holiday of Lights’ is publicly celebrated in the Russian capital.
Speaking on the large stage constructed between the monument of Karl Marx and the Kremlin walls, rabbi Lazar congratulated Russian Jews with the holiday and added: “The fact that public celebration of the holiday became possible is also a miracle.” He thanked the Russian government for creating an environment in which one can “openly celebrate the Jewish holidays and feel safe and secure observing Jewish traditions”.
As the traditional blessings on the candle lighting were recited, the large crowd replied with a massive “amen” while Russian news and television reported live from the square. The evening continued with music and dancing into the late hours of the night.