A CHANUKIAH hasn’t been lit in Federal Parliament since 1988 when Bob Hawke was prime minister. But that all changed on Tuesday when political rivals Josh Frydenberg and Michael Danby co-hosted a Chanukah party under the auspices of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ), with the support of the ACT Jewish Community and Chabad ACT.
Among the 150 attendees getting in the festive spirit were fellow parliamentarians Mark Dreyfus, Tania Plibersek, Christopher Pyne, Penny Wong and Bob Katter, as well as the ECAJ’s Robert Goot and Peter Wertheim.
Danby told The AJN, “I was honoured to have hosted this event, the first of its kind in almost 30 years. Events like this help highlight the contribution the Australian Jewish community has made to Australian society and Australian politics.”
Frydenberg told The AJN, “It was a fantastic gathering of the members of the ACT Jewish community and parliamentarians to celebrate Chanukah and the importance of light filling the darkness around the world.”
The ACT Jewish Community’s Rabbi Alon Meltzer concurred. “To have the opportunity to spread the light of Chanukah to over 30 MPs and Senators alongside the Jewish community of Canberra and the wider Australian Jewish community is something to cherish. At a time when darkness seems to be engulfing the world, it is imperative to know that the lights of the menorah are a beacon of hope to so many.”
Meanwhile, although Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull was not in attendance as he was at the climate conference in Paris, he will be present at Central Synagogue to light the candles for the last day of Chanukah on Monday, December 14.
“It’s an honour and a privilege to have the Prime Minister come to our shul,” Central Synagogue president Danny Taibel said.
“Malcolm Turnbull has been a great friend of the Sydney Jewish community, and also over the years in Parliament he has always demonstrated support and solidarity with the State of Israel.”
Added Rabbi Levi Wolff: “He has always been the one I’ve invited to light the menorah at our public Chanukah celebrations and he felt this year should be no different.
“We’re very proud to be able to have on the last day of Chanukah, to finish off the celebrations on such a high.”
Central Synagogue’s event is on December 14 at 3pm. Bookings for the event are essential. To book, visit tinyurl.com/glx5vuu.