This year, Hanukkah was celebrated at Ortakoy, Istanbul for the second time. The public celebration organized by the Turkish Jewish Community in cooperation with Besiktas Municipality was held on Saturday, on the first night of the holiday at Esma Sultan Mansion in Ortakoy.
Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak, Besiktas Mayor Murat Hazinedar, Director of General Directorate of Foundations Adnan Ertem, Undersecretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ambassador Kaan Esener, AKP Istanbul MP Ahmet Hamdi Camli, CHP Istanbul MP Sezgin Tanrikulu, Deputy Governor of Istanbul Ismail Gultekin were among the officials who attended the ceremony.
At the front seat row, next to Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva sat Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeus and Armenian Deputy Patriarch Aram Atesyan.
The event started with Moris Levi’s speech. Moris Levi, the Vice President of Turkish Jewish Community told the story of Hanukkah.
Following Levi’s speech, Besiktas Mayor Hazinedar took the stage. Hazinedar, stating the importance of freedom of religion, highlighted the contributions of minority communities in founding of our country. He finished his speech by saying, “Hag Hanukkah Sameah”.
Ishak Ibrahimzadeh, Leader of Turkish Jewish Community also gave a speech. Ibrahimzadeh started his speech by congratulating all Christians’ Christmas Holiday. Ibrahimzadeh highlighted the importance of lighting our candles in public despite our fears and the dark days we are going through.
The last speaker of the event was the Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak. Kaynak said that the land of Anatolia has always welcomed everyone with open arms and stated that they are not seeing those defined as minorities in Treaty of Lausanne, as minorities.
Following the speeches, the candle lighting ceremony began. The candles were lit by Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva, Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak, Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos, Armenian Deputy Patriarch Aram Atesyan, Israeli Consul General Shai Cohen, Director of General Directorate of Foundations Adnan Ertem, Besiktas Mayor Murat Hazinedar, Deputy Governor of Istanbul Ismail Gultekin. Chief Rabbi Haleva recited the Hanukkah candle lighting prayer.
The ceremony which drew great interest from national media ended with prayers and songs.