Finding Light This Hanukkah
Reader's Digest UK|December 2020
We speak to three activists about the importance of fighting the good fight this Hanukkah
Molly Lipson

Hanukkah, or chanukah, is the Jewish festival of light celebrated every December. It commemorates the rebuilding of the Second Temple that was almost destroyed by the Greeks in an attempt to forbid people from practising Judaism. When they started repairing the Temple, they only found enough oil to light their lamps for one night. However, a miracle occurred and the oil lasted for eight nights. The Jewish community celebrates this miracle and its metaphorical connotations of endurance and freedom over the eight days of Hanukkah. Each night, people light the menorah, an eight-pronged candelabra, adding a candle each night of the festival. Families share traditional food like latkes (potato pancakes) and doughnuts, play games of dreidel, and exchange gifts.

Hanukkah is usually a time of light, warmth and joy for Jewish people around the world. This year, most will struggle to celebrate with their loved ones due to COVID restrictions. Despite the difficulties 2020 has presented, however, in the spirit of Hanukkah, Jewish people from different backgrounds and denominations are still managing to find light and bring light to others.

ANDREW

Andrew is a Haredi–Orthodox member of the Jewish community from London who set up the protest group Jews for Uyghurs 18 months ago. In China, the minority Uyghur Muslim community is being targeted by the country’s regime for cultural erasure and genocide. Over 1 million people are believed to have been forced into concentration camps, and thousands of children have been separated from their parents. Chinese authorities are yet to admit what is truly taking place.

Andrew first came to hear about the situation when satellite images of the industrial detention facilities were released. “I couldn’t just sit at home and do nothing,” he says. He began holding weekly protests outside the Chinese Embassy’s Cultural Attaché in February 2019. Now, on Tuesday evenings, a small group of protestors can be seen lining the street outside the building holding signs stating, Stop Uyghur Genocide and Honk for Uyghur Justice! As cars go past, many do hoot; some drivers pound their fists out the window to show their solidarity.

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