December 11, 2007
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today participated in a menorah-lighting ceremony to celebrate the eighth and final night of Chanukah.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am honoured to light the menorah to mark the celebration of Chanukah,” said Prime Minister Harper. Noting that last year there were a record number of public menorah lightings in cities all around the world, the Prime Minister expressed optimism for the future of Jewish religious freedom. “To me, this is an encouraging sign that the light of the menorah is growing stronger.”
Also known as the Festival of Lights, the holiday commemorates the rededication of the Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem after its desecration 2,200 years ago. According to Jewish legend, when the Maccabees liberated the Temple, they found only enough oil to rekindle its menorah for one night. Miraculously, the oil lasted for eight nights. Chanukah symbolizes the enduring power of faith in triumphing over great adversity.
“The fact that this ceremony can now be conducted in so many countries, in public, in the supportive company of their non-Jewish fellow citizens, is reason for hope that the light of the menorah may one day banish anti-Semitic bigotry into the darkness forever,” said Prime Minister Harper. “In the spirit of Chanukah, all Canadians should endeavour, each in our own way, to add a little more light and freedom to the world.”