Hanukkah in Dubai; “UAE as the brightest light in this region”

A wave of peace is washing over the Middle East and this was absolutely apparent in Dubai where, for the first time ever, a public Menorah was lit to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah which began on Thursday night. A 12-foot metal menorah was constructed and displayed in the plaza at the Armani Hotel adjacent to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world. To emphasize the point, a display of lights in the shape of a menorah was displayed on the building.

“The menorah is an age-old symbol of religious tolerance and a beacon of hope for all of humanity,” says Rabbi Levi Duchman, director of Chabad-Lubavitch of the UAE and the country’s rabbi since arriving in 2015. “There is no more appropriate sign of the respect the Jewish community of the UAE has received here, as well as this country’s spirit of coexistence than the menorah, so this is exciting for all of us here.”

The community has planned public celebrations including performances by Yishai Lapidot, Moshe Louk, Chaim Yisrael and Ruli Dikman. Israeli tourism to Dubai is expected to hit 40,000 by the end of the year.

“The message behind Hanukkah is to spread light over darkness. And I see the UAE as the brightest light in this region,” Rabbi Duchman told Gulf News on Wednesday. This is clearly a new stage of the light of Torah going out into the world and Chabad, a branch of Hassidic Judaism famous for its astounding achievements in outreach and education is leading the way. Chabad of the UAE has imported 2,000 menorah and candle kits to be distributed to any Jew who does not have a menorah of their own.

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