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First time Chanukah at the Colosseum

Monday, December 6, 2021

This page is also available in: Italian Hebrew

A historical event took place this Chanukah in Rome; an ice Chanukah Menorah was lit in front of the Colosseum.

The idea has always been in Rabbi Lazar’s mind. This year in a series of divine providences, in a record-breaking time, permits were granted thanks to the help of the vice-President of the First Municipio (district) of Rome, Alessandra Sermoneta.

Locals and tourists gathered at the spot, which was kept secure thanks to the policemen of the Comissariato Esquilino and the Jewish security volunteers.

Before the lighting of the Chanukià, Rabbi Lazar explained that the Colosseum was built from the spoils of the destruction of the Sanctuary in Jerusalem (Beit Hamikdash). Today, while the Romans of yore and the culture that destroyed the Beit Hamikdash doesn’t exist, the Jewish heritage is alive.

Rabbi Colombo, Rabbi of the Beit Michael synagogue and Dean of Jewish Studies at the Jewish Schools of Rome, reiterated the fact that Jewish prisoners were used for the building of the Colosseum and then to fight for the entertainment of the crowds, while today we are free to practice proudly our religion in the same place.

Alessandra Sermoneta, the vice-president of the First Municipio, expressed her gratitude for the event and hoped to be able to help in many more events.

Rabbi Lazar proceeded to recite the blessings for the lighting of the Menorah, with the participation of Riccardo Pacifici, the former President of the Jewish Community, and other guests.

Following the lighting, the crowd sang and danced together with a group of Yeshiva students from the Chabad Yeshiva in Brunoy.

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