Royal Hospital Celebrates Chanukah

24th December 2022

Barrie Davie lighting the Menorah at the Chanukah Service

Barrie Davie lighting the Menorah at the Chanukah Service

The Royal Hospital Chelsea hosted its first ever Chanukah celebration on Thursday 22nd December, in conjunction with His Majesty’s Forces Jewish Chaplaincy. Kindly hosted by Chelsea Pensioner Mr Barrie Davey, the Royal Hospital Chaplain’s department, and Royal Hospital Activity team, this occasion marked the first time Chanukah has been formally celebrated at the Hospital. A candle lighting ceremony was led by Major Rabbi Reuben Livingstone LLM CF, followed by a reception where traditional festive foods were served kindly sponsored by AJEX, the Jewish Military Association. Approximately forty guests attended including a number of Chelsea Pensioners, Royal Hospital staff, and serving members of HM Forces.

Chanukah is the Jewish festival lights and falls in winter, often coinciding with Christmas. It commemorates Jewish survival in the face of adversity and is celebrated with symbolic candle lighting ceremonies on each of its eight nights. It is also customary to exchange gifts and eat fried foods, especially doughnuts during Chanukah.

Martin Field, Director of Public Engagement at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, said:

“We were delighted to facilitate this event Barrie so kindly hosted. Comradeship lies at the very heart of what we do, and it was truly inspiring to see our Jewish Pensioners open their Chanukah celebrations up to their friends and the wider community. I was struck by the warmth between Pensioners and serving or more recently retired personnel, and it was clear to all just how strong the mutual bond service creates is.”

Rabbi Major Reuben Livingstone LLM CF, Jewish Chaplain to HM Armed Forces and AJEX, the Jewish Military Association, says:

“One of the privileges of being a military chaplain is sharing religious moments and experiences with diverse communities. Our Chanukah party was perhaps one of the most special. Celebrating our festivals is always a highlight of the year but doing so in such unique company and settings was remarkable. As a serving officer with the Royal Army Chaplains' Department, I feel very lucky to be able to support Jewish veterans in this manner too.”

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