Hanukkah Celebration in Neve Şalom SynagogueA beautiful Hanukkah celebration presenting Burstein Klezmer´s Basement and Cenk Rofe Concert was held in Neve Şalom on the eve of December 23rd, Monday, organized by the Turkish Ashkenazim Community and Neve Şalom Sephardic Synagogues Foundation.
Translation by Janet MITRANI
Before the concert, a Hanukkah tradition the sufganiots were presented as a treat of Mayor of Istanbul Ekrem Imamoglu.
Rabbi Mendy Chitrik giving a speech in the opening ceremony of the evening, remarked that the concert of Klezmer music taking place together with Sephardic music is beyond unity and solidarity, and said, "The most important message of Hanukkah is, to strive to maintain our identities with our differences and uniqueness thus preserve our future. We are the various parts of a mosaic and every one of us is here to spread light."
Rabbi Isak Alaluf in his speech said that Hanukkah reminds us about 'Ahdut' meaning unity and solidarity and handed the microphone over to Chief Rabbi Isak Haleva. Haleva said, "God gave us a miracle through our high symbol Hanukkiah and Menorah. Where the oil could have burned for only one day, it lasted for 8 days. God's message to the people believing in only one God was this: 'You risked your lives for me, stood up against the Greeks, therefore, I will be the light of hope for you.' A man should never doubt, even in the hardest situations, that God will provide help."
After lighting the second candle of Hanukkah with prayers, Hanukkah songs were chanted all together.
In the concert that started with the joyful songs of Burstein's Klezmer Basement group, their Yiddish songs, and melodies inspired by Turkish music was applauded cheerfully. In the second half of the concert, Cenk Rofe with his Sephardic songs, embellished the evening. The Judeo-Espagnol (Ladino) versions of the nostalgic Turkish songs like 'Bekledim de Gelmedin', were sung all together.
May the many Hanukkah Festivals for years to come shall fill our hearts with light, hope, Tikvah, and joy.