Sunday, December 25, 2005

Latkes gai pan?

From Haaretz:

The flame of the Hanukkah candle crossed roads for the first time in its millennia-long tradition Sunday evening with the symbol of a second ancient cultural symbol: the Great Wall of China.Some 200 Israelis and members of Beijing's Jewish community gathered at the Mujianyu site of the wall outside the Chinese capital to light the first candle of Hanukkah against the backdrop of the winding wall.The Israeli Ambassador to China, Dr. Yehoyada Haim, hosted the ceremony, saying at its onset, "This is an historical moment where two great and ancient civilizations come together."

Beijing's Chabad Rabbi Shimon Freundlich conducted the candle-lighting ceremony. The rabbi invited the vice president of the China Great Wall Society, which helped coordinate the event, to light the Shamash. Following the gathering around the large Menorah in the blistering cold, participants ate traditional Hanukkah donuts and latkes together with hot soup, and sang a round of all-time favorite Hanukkah songs.This is the first time that lighting of the Hanukkah candles in an official setting is permitted in China because Judaism has not been recognized as an official religion in China.