The Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, was the guest of honor at Chabad’s Chanukah Menorah lighting ceremony Sunday, at Rome’s Piazza Barberini square.
The lights “bring a message of peace and solidarity,” he said.
The mood at the event contrasted sharply with a rally held in Milan at the same time, where a man wielding a statuette violently attacked Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi.
But Rabbi Yitzchak Hazan, Director of Chabad Rome and organizer of the Rome event, noted that Chanukah lights have the power to inspire and build.
Hundreds of the local Jewish community gathered under heavy rain, which stopped moments before the festivities began.
Other speakers included the Senator Stefano De Lillo, vice-president of the Lazio Regional Council Bruno Prestagiovanni and Israeli Ambassador Gideon Meir.