Message by Jeremy Corbyn on Hanukkah 2019
22 December 2019
I would like to wish a happy Hanukkah to everyone celebrating in Britain and across the world. And it feels the right time to be thinking about the message of hope which is so central to the Hanukkah festival.
At Hanukkah, Jewish people celebrate the miracle of light. When the Temple was desecrated, the Jews only had enough oil to light the lamps for one day, but the oil lasted for eight days. Part of the miracle was not just that the light lasted, but that people were hopeful enough to light the oil in the first place. Their faith was an inspiration. The lights are a continuing symbol of hope, of light against the darkness.
What inspires me most is that Jews have continued to light their candles for over 2,000 years. They’ve been lit in the worst times, during the Spanish Inquisition, in occupied France, in the gulags and in Bergen Belsen. The light tells us about how essential hope is to the human spirit. And right now, hope is so important.
We face deep divisions in our country and grave challenges, poverty, inequality and a climate crisis. Our communities now face the threat of years of policies that won’t heal divisions or end inequality, and a crucial period to tackle the climate emergency will be lost.
But hope is all around us. The Jewish community is carrying that flame of hope. Synagogues doing drop-in centres for refugees, housing the homeless, and raising money for charities are a model for all of us.
And we need to look no further than young people who are leading the way on the climate and environment emergency and social justice. They don’t just give us hope for the future; they are the future.
So this Hanukkah, we think of those lights burning bright.