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    Posted December 10, 2012 by
    Prague, Czech Republic
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Christmas where you live

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    Chabad lights up Prague


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     iReporter pogomcl took these images in Prague, Czech Republic, of members of the Orthodox Jewish Chabad-Lubavitch community lighting a large menorah to celebrate Hanukkah -- the Jewish festival of lights -- alongside various dignitaries. "Each lighting is dedicated to some current event with each official presenting a short speech about a theme," she said. "This year [it was about] the oppressed overcoming oppression and gaining democracy and freedom. There was a short commentary on the recognition of the Palestinian state and the need for peaceful co-existence." She says that while only a few hundred were in the square due to snow, many more watched at home.
    - sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer

    Chabad lights the Prague menorah before the Rudolfinum on Saturday, December 8, 2012. A year after the death of Vaclav Havel, the Jewish community celebrates Hanukah with Rabbi Barash and the giant Menorah.


    Hanukah celebrates the victory of good over evil and the freedom oppression. The rabbis relate the story of the ededication of the Temple after the revolt of the maccabbees against the Seleucid occupation. Five brothers with rag-tag rmy of followers fought harsh guerrilla battles against an overwhelming suprior army to free their land. When they returned to cleanse and rededicate the Temple at Jerusalem, they discovered only a single jug of pure oil that would sustain the Menorah for only one day; miraculously the oil endured the entire eight days of rededication.


    Hanukah is more than a story from ancient history; it is the celebration of light in darkness, hope in despair and freedom from oppression. It symbolizes the victory of those who suffer injustice or oppression against overwhelming odds. In Prague only 2% of the Jews survived the deportations, concentration and work camps of the Nazi regime. Hanukah celebrates the light of democracy after the long night of communism and suppression. It calls us to consider the rights of the down-trodden, the neglected, the exploited around us.


    Lighting the Prague Menorah with Rabbi Barash were the Lord Mayor of Prague, Dr. Bohuslav Svoboda, the Israeli Ambassador, Yaakov Levy, the US Ambassador, Norman Eisen and the ex-Premier Jan Fischer who is now running for President of Czech Republic.


    On Hanukah, Prague remembers those of the past, but lights the lamp to lead future gemerations in democracy, peace and freedom.

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