North London interfaith group sends seasonal message

The silver candlestick used in the Jewish festival of Hunnukah (the"Festival of Lights").

The silver candlestick used in the Jewish festival of Chanukah (the Festival of Lights). - Credit: PA

An interfaith organisation covering the boroughs of Hackney and Haringey has postponed its annual Chanukah and Advent celebrations until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chair of the north London branch of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) Ivor Millman  sent out a seasonal message on December 13, when the event was previously planned to be held.

Portrait photo of chair of the committee for the North London Council of Christians and Jews, Ivor Millman. 

Chair of the committee for the North London Council of Christians and Jews, Ivor Millman. - Credit: CCJ

The date marks halfway through the Christian Season of Advent and the Jewish Festival of Chanukah. 

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He said: "We are coming to the end of this extraordinary year and are once again in a period of religious significance."

Normally, at the annual interfaith celebrations, Ivor would have explained to attendees about the background of Chanukah, talked about 500 years of history, and said blessings and lit candles before joining in singing. 


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"Sadly, that is not possible this year," Ivor told the Gazette. 

The Festival of Chanukah, he explained can be observed both secularly and religiously. 

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Chanukah is a celebration of the establishment of an independent Jewish Kingdom in 164 BCE.

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It commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and tells the story of how Jewish people rose up against Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. 

It is also called The Festival of Lights and candles are lit over eight days, children receive gifts, games are played and foods, such as donuts and pancakes, are eaten. 

Ivor said he looks forward to being able to attend CCJ's celebrations in person next year.

Coronavirus restrictions have resulted in many changes to the religious calendar and many changes to how people observe religious holidays. 

Ivor added: "I wish you all Chag Sameach Chanukah, a Very Happy Chanukah holiday.

"Like the buses, you wait for ages to receive holiday greetings and then two come together.

"So looking ahead just a few days, I wish you all a very Happy Christmas."

Ivor continued: "I wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season and a better 2021."

To find out more about the North London branch of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) visit www.ccj.org.uk/branches/north_london

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