Dame Maureen Lipman was the keynote speaker at The Liberal Jewish Synagogue (LJS) Multi-Faith Chanukah Celebration.
Now in its 13th year, the annual event brings together faith leaders from London’s different religions – including the Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Jain communities – to celebrate Chanukah and light the menorah.
Around 150 adults and children attended the event in person at the LJS, in St John’s Wood, with a similar number from all around the world watching live on YouTube.
Senior Rabbi of the LJS and Liberal Judaism President, Rabbi Alexandra Wright, welcomed guests, saying “This event, now in its bar/batmitzvah year, brings together a microcosm of this great city we all live in. We are all representatives of different faiths, races, nations, cultures, languages and so much more.
“The fact that we can stand or sit together, celebrating our diversity and inclusivity – marking this festival of Chanukah, the festival of lights – is a tribute to all who have joined us.”
Dame Maureen Lipman, who was accompanied by family members including her 10-year-old granddaughter, reflected on the meaning of the word ‘light’ and how it is central to Chanukah. She also brought laughter as she told stories of her life and career, including meeting The Queen on the set of Coronation Street.
Reflections were then given by Revd Graham Buckle (St Stephen’s Westminster), Imam Mehmed Stublla (British Albanian Muslim Community), Ashwin Mehta (Jain community), Smita Oza (Neasden Temple) and Mehri Niknam MBE (National Council of Imams and Rabbis).
A moving moment came when Imam Mehmed Stublla invited Imam Rexhep Qerkezi, a guest from Kosovo, to join him and chant a verse from the Qur’an.
After the service, long-term LJS members and Liberal Judaism Vice Presidents Bob Kirk BEM and Ann Kirk BEM gave guests a tour of the synagogue, before everyone enjoyed traditional Chanukah latkes and doughnuts.
- Picture: Rabbi Igor Zinkov, Mehri Niknam, Smita Oza, Ashwin Mehta, Dame Maureen Lipman DBE, Revd Graham Buckle, Imam Mehmed Stublla, Imam Rexhep Qerkezi and Rabbi Alexandra Wright with the LJS menorah (photo by Steven Derby/Interfaith Matters)
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