Polish parliament holds 2nd Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony, this time without a hitch

Jeremy Sharon is The Times of Israel’s legal affairs and settlements reporter

A Hanukkah lighting ceremony at the Polish Parliament, December 14, 2023. (Magda Dorosz Schudrich)
A Hanukkah lighting ceremony at the Polish Parliament, December 14, 2023. (Magda Dorosz Schudrich)

A second Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony is held in the Polish parliament, after a far-right member of parliament used a fire extinguisher to put out candles lit in the same ceremony two days ago, drawing widespread condemnation in the country.

Speaker of the Sejm, the lower house of the Polish parliament, Szymon Holownia, together with the Speaker of the Senate Malgorzata Kidawa Blonska and Polish President Polish Andrzej Duda are all in attendance at Thursday night’s lighting.

Polish Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich says some two dozen lawmakers from the Senate and Sejm were also in attendance, along with Israel’s Ambassador to Poland Yakov Livne, around 100 members of the Jewish community, Rabbi Shalom Ber Stambler, Director of Chabad of Poland, and Schudrich himself.

Before today’s candle lighting ceremony, Holownia read out in parliament a letter written by Stambler and Schudrich to him regarding Tuesday’s incident in which the candles were extinguished by MP Grzegorz Braun of the Confederation party.

The two rabbis expressed their thanks to the speaker for condemning the incident and sanctioning Braun, and called on him to hold a second ceremony in order to “persevere” in the fight against “evil and hatred” in the country.

“By standing together tonight with the leadership of Poland and the Jewish community of Poland we show the real face of Poland,” says Schudrich at today’s candle lighting.

“Together we stand for cooperation and understanding and against antisemitism and hatred of any kind. Two days ago, someone extinguished our candles. What did we do? We immediately relit the candles. This is the story of Jewish as well as Polish history. Many have tried to extinguish us but we will always relight the lights.”

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