Dec 25, 2011
A Run-in With Occupy Copenhagen
After Chabad of Denmark's menorah was vandalised by a member of the 'Occupy Copenhagen' movement, Shliach Yitzi Loewenthal changed the location and put up a different Menorah.
Chanukah festivities in Copenhagen
In celebration of Chanukah, over 600 people joined Chabad of Copenhagen's Chanukah in town- 2-part festivity, the public outdoor menorah lighting, followed by an indoor party in the elegant Lumbaya hall in the world famous Tivoli gardens.
For the outdoor lighting, a few hundred people gathered on Rådhuspladsen, Copenhagen's main square, and were addressed by the Shliach, Rabbi Yitzi Loewenthal, and by various dignitaries. After the lighting, Chanukah gifts were given to the hundreds of children present, whilst there was music and dancing. After the outdoor lighting, the celebrations moved across the street to the Lumbaya hall in Tivoli gardens, the world famous amusement park for which Copenhagen is well known, for a grand Chanukah party. 300 people packed into the hall, and whilst the adults were entertained by a klezmer band, the children had their own entertainment, with a magician and Chanukah arts and crafts.
Chanukah and occupy Copenhagen
While the indoor festivities were going on, outside on Rådhuspladsen, the main square, a person who had been affiliated with the occupy Copenhagen movement knocked down and broke the beautiful, 15 foot menorah.
Apparently he was angered that the police had earlier that day removed them and dismantled their camp which was on the square where the menorah lighting was scheduled to take place. Whether they were removed because of the Chanukah or not, is unknown, but this occupyist took justice in his own hands.
Although there were other members of the occupy camp that were deeply apologetic and helped with trying to fix it, the damage was done and it could not be used. Rather unfortunate, as this year for the very first time, the police and Copenhagen's municipality had agreed to allow the menorah to remain standing on the main square, for the duration of Chanukah.
Instead, another very durable menorah (which had been built two years ago by an Israeli artist for the climate conference out of scrap metal, and has a very heavy base so it's difficult to be vandalised) was placed at another central place, Israel square.
Israel square is named after the friendship of the Danish people to Israel, and on it is a monument, a gift from the Israeli people to the Danish people. It is inscribed with the possuk, "Vayhi erev vayhi boker," which translated (freely) is saying there was darkness, yet there was light, referring to the rescue of the entire Danish Jewish community by the Danish people during the second world war.
Every day and night of chanukah there are various activities including a dreidel-house with the 'chanukah time machine' - video presentation, nightly lightings, Chanukah parties, a camp for children, office and home visits and of course menorah kits distribution.
With thanks to bochurim Levi Loewenthal, Tzemach Yemini and Shloimie Cohen.