Rejecting terror threat, Paris to light up with Hanukkah celebrations

Chabad says it will move forward with public ceremonies, will not submit ‘to darkness which the candles are intended to dispel’

A menorah lighting ceremony at the Eiffel Tower in 2013 (YouTube screen capture)
A menorah lighting ceremony at the Eiffel Tower in 2013 (YouTube screen capture)

Chabad of Paris has announced that it will go forward with its traditional candle-lighting ceremonies throughout the city during Hanukkah, despite heightened fears of terrorism in the wake of the November 13 terror attacks in the French capital.

“As a matter of principle, Chabad has always taken the position that shutting down its Jewish activities would be a capitulation to terror, a submission to darkness which the [Hanukkah] lights are intended to dispel,” an article published on the Chabad Lubavitch Headquarters’ news site read, explaining the movement’s decision.

In light of the elevated tensions as a result of the recent Paris terror attacks, which killed 130 people and injured hundreds more, police had recommended that Chabad not conduct public events in the city. But on Tuesday, following a meeting between Chabad emissaries and French security officials, police agreed to allow 19 public menorah lighting events to take place over the course of the eight-day holiday, under heavy security.

Among the public events set to take place this year was the lighting of a large menorah at the Eiffel Tower, a practice that Chabad of Paris has taken part in annually over the past 25 years. Last year, 6,000 Parisians and visitors attended the event at the iconic French landmark.

Attacks against Jews in France have been on the rise in recent years, including a shooting at a kosher supermarket in Paris in January in which four people were killed, and the 2012 Toulouse attacks. These have ramped up fears in the Jewish community and spurred an upsurge in immigration to Israel.

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