Photo Credit: Chabad.org
The annual Chabad menorah lighting ceremony at Martin Place in Sydney has been canceled but the menorah was quietly, respectfully lit and spread its Light this year to honor the victims of the terror attack at the Lindt cafe.

The public Hanukkah candle lighting at Sydney’s Martin Place was canceled for the first time in 30 years following the terror attack that killed two Australians.

Chabad, which has erected a giant 33-foot Hanukkah menorah in downtown Sydney for the past three decades, issued a statement Thursday, saying: “Due to the very recent terror attack in Martin Place and with sensitivity towards the families of the victims of terror, the Hanukkah commemoration scheduled for this evening has regrettably been canceled.”

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“The Jewish community of Australia expresses our deepest sympathy for the families of the Martin Place tragedy. May the lights of the festival of Hanukkah bring comfort and warmth to our nation,” the statement concluded.

The giant menorah was scheduled to be erected Monday night, but the 16-hour siege inside Lindt chocolate café, just yards away from where the menorah is normally erected, was still underway.

Two hostages, café manager Tori Johnson, 34, and barrister Katrina Dawson, 38, were killed around 2 a.m. Tuesday when special agents stormed the café and killed the lone gunman, Man Haron Monis, a self-styled Iranian cleric who had forced hostages to hold up a flag bearing the Shahada – the testament of the Islamic creed – in the window.

Instead of the public candle lighting, Johnson’s father Ken was greeted Thursday afternoon at the memorial site – a sea of tens of thousands of bouquets of flowers – by multi-faith leaders, including Levi Wolff and Zalman Kastel, both Chabad rabbis.

“We have people from all faiths coming together to show that we are a very strong united people and a strong country,” Rabbi Wolff said. “A small, little bit of light distills a tremendous amount of darkness.”

Rabbi Elimelech Levy, from Chabad Youth of New South Wales, told Haaretz earlier this week, “We haven’t cancelled it [and] we are waiting to hear back from authorities. We’d like it to go ahead, and to pay tribute to the victims of terror.”

And what about Christmas?

Sydney is toning down the public festivities for the holiday but not banning the lighting of trees. The usual colorful decorations and pictures of Santa will not be displayed, the London Telegraph reported, but two Christmas trees will be put up at the central train station.

Rabbi Levy said concerning the ban on the public lighting of the Hanukkah menorah, “If we cancel the event we are giving terrorist exactly what they want. We want to do it compassionately for the victims.”

The Chabad.org website wrote that after the siege of the Lindt coffee shop, the local Chabad rabbi placed a plaque affixed to the menorah that stated, “The Jewish Community of Australia expresses our deepest sympathy for the families of the Martin Place tragedy. May the light of the festival of Hanukkah bring comfort and warmth to our nation.”

A little bit of darkness dims the light.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Sydney authorities ordered that the menorah not be lit.

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76 COMMENTS

  1. The menorah would bring more light and comfort when people finally know what Chanukah stands for — certainly not the myth of the oil, but the truth of the fight for religious freedom. Sydney makes this bigoted decision precisely because it doesn't know what Chanukah means.

  2. Notice the compassionate and non-aggressive way Jews deal with what is clearly caving in to jihadis. If some public Islamic celebration were banned, Muslims would be rioting and burning down cities.

  3. This is a completely false report. No one banned anything. The representatives of the Jewish community took the decision that it was not appropriate to proceed with what was essentially a happy & joyous celebration involving public enjoyment at a place virtually adjacent to the death site of the 2 victims of their maniac killer. It was too late then to take down and re-erect such a large Chanukiah elsewhere. Their decision was 100% correct.

  4. WAKE UP !

    ISLAM USES FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY OF ALL , TO SUBDUE NOT MUSLIMS UNDER THEIR LAWS BY TERROR , THIS WAY THEY CONTROL FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY !
    IF YOU DON'T SUPPORT ISRAEL , AND STAND UP FOR YOUR FREEDOM, YOU WILL BE ENSLAVED BY MUSLIMS !!!
    HANUKKA SAMEAH FROM ISRAEL <3 )))))

  5. This happy joyous celebration as you put it is because Jews are celebrating the Jewish victory over repression and agression. This decision not to support such a victory is again surrendering. This time to Muslim terrorism rather than the Greeks. Jews need to stop surrendering and stand up for equality.

  6. Very sad they give to the terrorist the right for killing people, it is very sad, because terror whin
    Light the Hanoukah and continue to mourn the people how died but never, show the terror that they will scarred people . Happy hanouckah to Australia and Mary Christmas be strong

  7. It is a shame that terror works when those who believe appeasement will stop terror make the decisions. During this season of rededication, we should do just the opposite, as the Maccabees did, we must stand up to tyranny and let the light of the world shine. Read "The Big Lie" by Michael Cohen. May we all know the love and salvation of Yeshua.

  8. The great compassion shown by the Chabad is admirable. For people who are the worlds underdogs we Jews do live with hope that all the good we do will be recognized. I wonder if this kindness shown by Chabad will be appreciated? just asking……

  9. If there was a safety issue I would support the cancellation… if it was another reason I would have used this lighting to pay respects to the victims, tone down the mood and still keep the ceremony.

  10. Why a minor festival. If the Greeks had not been defeated, would Judaism and the Jews survived? It it wans't for Chunakah nobody would be Jewish and the defeated Jews would just have been assimilated by the Hellenist culture that had already seduced so many Jews.

  11. So this is a win for Islamic extremism ! As the Christian religious services for the victims of the attack went ahead and the gunman of the hostage incident has been regarded by all as a criminal rather than a terrorist, the move to ban the lighting of the Menorah is discrimination against the Jewish people on both counts.

  12. Giant Menorah stands tall in Martin Place, Sydney

    Chabad is pleased to announce that the Giant (10 metre high) Chanukah Menorah has been erected in Martin Place in the very same place it has stood annually for the last thirty years.
    This year, the following message has been prominently displayed:
    “The Jewish community of Australia expresses our deepest sympathy for the families of the Martin Place tragedy. May the Lights of the festival of Chanukah bring comfort and warmth to our nation”
    After lengthy discussions and consultation with the authorities and communal leaders, the decision was made to cancel the Chanukah Menorah Lighting Ceremony in Martin Place, scheduled for the third night of Chanukah, Thursday 18 December.

    "Whilst the event was cancelled, the presence of the Giant Menorah sends a powerful message that light will always overcome darkness.", said said Rabbi Elimelech Levy, Director of Chabad Youth NSW and coordinator of the annual "Chanukah in the City" celebration.

    "As we mourn the loss of life and the atrocity that has taken place, people of goodwill will continue to shine the light of freedom and communal harmony, which is what the Chanukah Menorah is all about."

  13. Elimelek, this sounds nice and very politically correct but sadly doesn't have a shred of truth in it. Why would the Chanuka light interfere with the terrorist siege? Nobody pulled down christmas lights or moque lights. Lets speak the truth truthfully all the time and lets refrain from deception to cover up a lie.

  14. Barry Appleby, you sound really ignorant. Judaism didn't survive because the Jews defeated the Greeks, but because the Jews have defeated apostasy and rebellion and have returned to the living God. They have cleaned the temple from foreign gods and evil sacrifices and rededicated the temple to its rightful owners, the Jewish people and their powerful God. God made on oath with his own mouth that he will never forget and will never abandon Israel. So regardless of who will rise up against us, will have to deal with the wrath of our God. Isreal has sufferd under many
    occupiers and has seen troubles like no other nation, God has always kept a remnant and he always rebult his inheritance. No more fullish talk my friend.

  15. What a missed opportunity! The Hannukiah is a symbol of religious freedom. Lighting the Hannukiah would have shown the Australians that the Jewish community stands in defiance to its Muslim death culture. They should have lit the lights said the blessings and stood in silence.

  16. That is exactly the truth. Everybody has to pay the price for the ongoing Islamic terrorism. That loan wolf as the media calls it was part of a very large pack, and sadly nobody came forward from amongs all tose nice and peace loving Muslims to denounce him and help the police. I am absolutely appalled with the media and all those idiots who are still making excuses for them.

  17. Leonard, the biggest bullies are the Australians who would sacrifice everyone to keep the Muslims quiet. They stopped the lighting of the menorah, but they totally undermined the lives of those two hostages when they started diverting attention from their suffering to a stupid woman who invented the hashtag i'llride with you, saying that we should pay more attention to the Muslims whose religious freedom is threatened by this incident. So we are still more worried about Muslim religious freedom than the lives of two innocent Australians who lost their lives so that a deranged Muslim mand have his freedom to express himself. It looks like only Islam matters happiness means something to this country. Why is everybody quiet about this? Why are people so blind to the truth? And why are we so happy to accomodate their every wimp? Wake up Australia.

  18. That's how I read it at first but then I saw this further down "Rabbi Elimelech Levy, from Chabad Youth of New South Wales, told Haaretz earlier this week, “We haven’t cancelled it [and] we are waiting to hear back from authorities. We’d like it to go ahead, and to pay tribute to the victims of terror.”
    I'm confused.

  19. What a load of lies. I am disgusted with the Jewish Press for such an article.
    We made a good judgement call. We cannot have people being happy in a place where there has been such a tragic senseless loss of life.
    It wasn't banned.
    WE ARE A NATION IN MOURNING

  20. Luiza Motz Why would it interfere. ??
    You are showing your ignorance mate.
    The menorah is not more than a few yards from the place where two innocent people died and it's a sign of respect NOT to enjoy ones self in such a place.

  21. What part is rubbish? That it missed an opportunity, or that Muslims have a death culture or they could have lit and stood in silence? Or have you forgotten to take out the rubbish or maybe you think lighting a Hannukiah is rubbish – if you are going to make a comment please express your self in more than one word – thanks

  22. Luiza Motz You are making me sick to the pit of my stomach.The fact you live in Australia and are making such comments is a complete and utter disgrace. You should be ashamed of yourself. Give it a rest.
    People have died a mere few days ago where you would have us celebrate.
    A broch zu dir.

  23. So when the Munich Olympic massacre happened and Israelis were killed and the Olympic committee decided to continue the games – that was wrong? In Britain the biggest strength they showed during WWII was business as usual. In Israel we hold funerals and weddings side by side – that is how we show our enemies they will not rob us of our lives.
    I pointed out that they should have lit said blessings and stood in silence that is appropriate
    Unfortunately there will be other occasions to show solidarity

  24. The only person you should be desgusted with is yourself. People like you are no better than the Nazis and the ISIS. The bigest proof that Australia is not capable of good judgment are the facts that two people are dead because two criminals are walking free.

  25. Anitra King Lehman The Olympics were not a Jewish event. Jews could not sing and dance a few metres where to people have tragically died a few days previously.
    Just use your brain to think what people would have said about Jews.

  26. Shirlee Finn, i don't give a toss about your position in the Jewish communit. Your attitude towrds the Jewish people and what is important to them speaks volums. There are lots of gentiles who infiltrate the Jewish community but not because they care about them but because they have a need for self importance. Your words and your attitude are a clear testament of who you really are and what kind of position you take. You are so full of rage, insults and faul language that i wouldn't want you even as my neighbour, much less part of the Jewish community. I will have to speak to somebody about your place amongst us.

  27. Shirlee Finn YES THERE IS TIME AND PLACE FOR MOURNING…AND I DO SEND MY SYMPATHY TO THE FAMILIES ….AND YES IT STOPPED THE NATION…THE MUSLIMS WOULD NOT STOP RAMADAN FOR THESE DEATHS AND THE CHRISTIANS WILL NOT STOP CHRISTMAS…SO LET THE JEWS CELEBRATE THEIR HANNUKIAH…

  28. If we just had two Jews murdered we would be highly insulted if others chose to hold a happy event few feet away from the tragedy a few days later.
    This is nothing at all to do with Muslims and is all about respect for the dead

  29. LUIZA MOTZ
    Without being too disrespectful I find your comments to all and sundry here to be rude and insulting beyond words with another couple of people not far behind you.
    Who on earth do you think you are and what gives you the right to address people in that manner?
    By your profile you don't appear to be Jewish and I sincerely hope you are not as you are a disgrace and embarrasment.
    Self opinionated, egotistical,narcissistic, self-absorbed, self-centred, self-concerned, self-infatuated, solipsistic, conceited, pompous, and any number of words you care to add.

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