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Creating Chanukah light in the Palace of Westminster

Progressive Judaism Co-Leads Rabbi Josh Levy and Rabbi Charley Baginsky offered a prayer for the welfare of the UK Jewish community at the first night of Chanukah reception and candle lighting held at Speaker’s House in the Palace of Westminster.

Other presenters at the event, organised by the Speaker and Board of Deputies of British Jews, included Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper MP, Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing MP, Dame Margaret Hodge MP and Tom Tugendhat MP.

Rabbis Charley and Josh – pictured with Movement for Reform Judaism Chair Paul Langsford and Liberal Judaism Acting Chair Karen Newman – wrote and led a prayer to conclude the candle lighting.

They said: “Chanukah is the festival of lights, one where we add to the light every night… growing one small flame into a powerful illumination.

“It was therefore appropriate to welcome in Chanukah at Parliament, with leaders from across the Jewish community and beyond, so we can take now take this light that was created back into our many different communities and see it grow.”

A prayer for the welfare of the UK Jewish community

By Rabbi Charley Baginsky and Rabbi Josh Levy

As we gather on this first night of Chanukah, at this time of darkness, it is more important than ever to search for the light that is beyond us and that is within us, and to make it shine more brightly.

At this moment Jews around the country are bringing the light of Chanukah into their homes, too. On their own and with families, with other Jews and with non-Jewish family, friends and neighbours, in every corner of this country, members of the UK Jewish community are lighting in their homes.

Eternal God, may the light tonight in the Jewish homes of this country be a source to them of comfort, safety and reassurance. And may it be a sign of divine presence, as it says in Psalm 27: ‘Adonai Ori v’Yishi mi-mi irah – The Eternal is my light and my help, whom should I fear?’

We give thanks as Jews for the light that we receive, for the support and concern of the country in which we live. We recognise this care and friendship, that we do not take for granted. In our time of need, we are blessed to be in a country that values our freedoms and rights and cares for its minorities.

Eternal God, in the words of Psalm 43, ‘Sh’lach orcha v’amitecha – may you send out your light and your truth’ to all those who stand with us as we light.’

As Jews, may we commit not only to enjoy and to receive light, but also to be a source of light.

Even as we face the complexities of this time, may we work to fulfil our sacred task – to be, in the words of Isaiah, a ‘light to the nations’.

And let us say Amen

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