A Very Happy Hanukkah: Lighting the First Candle with Erran Baron Cohen and the Comedic Duo “TwoJews”

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Category Culture, Events, Lifestyle, People, Town
Date December 9 2023
Reading Time 3 min.

A Very Happy Hanukkah: Lighting the First Candle with Erran Baron Cohen and the Comedic Duo “TwoJews”

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, started this year on Thursday 7th December, exactly two months after the infamous attack on Israel by HAMAS. This holiday commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem after a successful revolt of the Jewish people led by Judah Maccabee against their Syrian-Greek oppressors, who had tried to assimilate the Jewish people and, in so doing, had desecrated the Temple. It is significant that more than 2,000 years later, Jews still continue to face prosecution.

A Very Happy Hanukkah: Lighting the First Candle with Erran Baron Cohen and the Comedic Duo “TwoJews” | London Cult.
@Valya Korabelnikova

This year, Jewish communities around the world came together to mark the start of the holiday. In Tel Aviv, people released balloons in solidarity with Israeli hostages held by Hamas. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attended a candle-lighting ceremony at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Dressed in a kippah, Mr. Scholz called for the immediate release of the hostages and said: I hope that the light of the menorah will shine in this square long after the eight days of Hanukkah celebrations.The British ambassador spoke during a Hanukkah ceremony at Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev. Light will overcome darkness,he said.

A Very Happy Hanukkah: Lighting the First Candle with Erran Baron Cohen and the Comedic Duo “TwoJews” | London Cult.
GETTY IMAGES

In London, the giant menorah will be on display in Trafalgar Square for a week, with one candle lit each day. St. Johns Wood Synagogue held a very special celebration of the first night of Hanukkah as a part of the One Candle Giving Day campaign, which benefits grassroots volunteer aid and relief organisations in Israel, with the help of volunteers from the Russian-speaking Mishkan Jewish community, Berlin-based comedy duo TwoJews and musician Erran Baron Cohen were invited to  perform for guests of the Synagogue on stage.

A Very Happy Hanukkah: Lighting the First Candle with Erran Baron Cohen and the Comedic Duo “TwoJews” | London Cult.
@Valya Korabelnikova

Motl Gordon, a rabbi, who fled Russia upon the breakout of war in Ukraine, started the celebration with a prayer and announced that this Hanukkah is that this Hanukkah is more unusual and relevant than ever. After praying according to ancient custom with a special candle in the centre of Hanukkiah, he lit the first candle.

A Very Happy Hanukkah: Lighting the First Candle with Erran Baron Cohen and the Comedic Duo “TwoJews” | London Cult.
@ Sara Boikova

The comedy duo Two Jews sang about the most pressing topics: Hanukkah, womens many rights and gay love that was found in Al-Qaeda by two of its most unlikely members (spoiler: they were Jewish). Despite all the hardships faced by the Jewish people throughout history, the duo concluded at the end of their performance that the Jews never lose, because high IQs!

A Very Happy Hanukkah: Lighting the First Candle with Erran Baron Cohen and the Comedic Duo “TwoJews” | London Cult.
@Valya Korabelnikova

The performance of Erran Baron Cohen and his band Zohar was less rich in comedy and brought a real party atmosphere into the Synagogue. Erron Baron Cohen, a talented trumpet player and producer, famous for his scores in his younger brother Sacha Baron Cohens films, played thoughtful songs in the style of world music. The band sang their original pieces, like their own version of the Jewish-American Hanukkah sing Dreidel, which, besides vocals, also included rap verses. At the end of their performance, they played a cover of Britney Spearss Baby, One More Time, inviting the guests to join them for the celebration on the dance-floor.

A Very Happy Hanukkah: Lighting the First Candle with Erran Baron Cohen and the Comedic Duo “TwoJews” | London Cult.
@Valya Korabelnikova

A charitable auction took place between the two musical numbers to help raise financial support for the IDF. The items that were on offer were kindly donated for this cause by the members of the international Jewish community. Harmonica of the TwoJews, which was out on offer by the comedians right after their performance was among the many other unique and interesting objects that were presented to the public. These included a signed copy of the recently published play by Tom Stoppard Leopoldstadt, which also included a personal message from the author, a Yellow Duck” — a minimalist sculpture piece by a St. Petersburg-based artist Konstantin Benkovich, and a ticket for a personal excursion around Jerusalem with a technology entrepreneur Arkady Volozh.

A Very Happy Hanukkah: Lighting the First Candle with Erran Baron Cohen and the Comedic Duo “TwoJews” | London Cult.
@Valya Korabelnikova

Although many people watched the event online, the atmosphere of Hanukkah at the London Synagogue went far beyond computer screens and kicked off this years Hanukkah season.

A Very Happy Hanukkah: Lighting the First Candle with Erran Baron Cohen and the Comedic Duo “TwoJews” | London Cult.

For the rest of Hanukkah, the founders of On Candle Giving Day, a crowdfunding campaign to benefit volunteer organisations to help and support people in Israel, invite you to get involved!

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