Candles in the wind
It wasn’t an equal contest on the stage at the Botanic Garden Sound Shell on Sunday – Wellington’s wind v. a large Hannukiah, the 8-branched candelabra used to celebrate Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.
The wind toppled the candelabra, split it in half, smashed the glass candle-holders, and scattered the candles.
But the show went on. Wellington Mayor Andy Foster, Israeli Ambassador Yitzhak Gerberg, National MP Hon Alfred Ngaro, former Attorney-General Hon Chris Finlayson, Jewish community and interfaith leaders were staunch with lighting the eight candles – lined up on a table – in spite of the continuing wind gusts. The Hanukkah ceremony continued with singing, Klezmer music provided by The Kugels, and Israeli dancing.
Earlier, when the dignitaries gave short addresses, Mayor Andy Foster made a statement that gave comfort and pleasure to the Jews in the crowd. He said that he personally supports the adoption by Wellington City Council of the widely-recognised definition of antisemitism written by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, and will recommend it to City Councillors as a way of supporting the Wellington Jewish community, which he said had contributed a lot to the city over the years.
New Zealand Jewish Council