Premier David Eby has issued the following statement celebrating the start of Chanukah:
“Tonight at sundown, Jewish families in British Columbia and all over the world will celebrate the start of Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights.
“This year, Chanukah comes at a painful time for the Jewish community. It begins exactly two months after the deadliest attack on Jewish people since the Holocaust. And it comes at a time when incidents of antisemitic hate are on the rise in B.C. and worldwide, making Jewish people feel unsafe in their communities. My thoughts remain with the families and loved ones of the victims of the Oct. 7 terrorist attack, including those of 22-year-old Ben Mizrachi from Vancouver.
“During this difficult time, I want you to know your government is here to support you. Not just in words, but in actions as well.
“Last month, I announced that B.C. is working with the Jewish community to make Holocaust education mandatory for high school students. Confronting antisemitism and hate begins with learning from the darkest parts of our history, so the same horrors are never repeated.
“Our government has also launched a new anti-hate fund to help protect the places that provide us comfort and connection, such as synagogues and community centres that have been targeted with graffiti and worse in recent weeks.
“The story of Chanukah is a timely reminder that the Jewish people’s history of perseverance and resilience, all too often in the face of violence and oppression, goes back millennia. More than 2,000 years ago, a small band of Jewish freedom fighters called the Maccabees rebelled against religious persecution and reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem from a much larger invading army. While rededicating the temple, the Maccabees found a small jar of oil they thought would light their lamp for only one day. Instead, it burned for eight straight days.
“As Jewish families throughout the province celebrate the miracle of the oil by lighting the first candles of the chanukiah tonight, giving gifts and exchanging blessings, I want to wish everyone celebrating a happy Chanukah. The call to reflect on the triumph of light over darkness is universal and as important as ever.
“Chanukah Sameach. May the light shine brightly in your homes.”