Chanucah celebrations in Southend attracted hundreds of people. There was standing room only at the Cliffs Pavilion in Westcliff for the nightly lighting of the public menorah. The first night's lighting was dedicated to the memory of the late Barbara Newman whose inspiration led to the town's community establishing the annual public lighting of a giant menorah 12 years ago.
Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation's Rabbi Binyamin Bar said: “The lighting of our beautiful symbolic menorah overlooking the sea is a wonderful occasion for so many Jews who live in the area to gather and express their pride in their Jewish identity. It also underscores the great relations we enjoy with the local authority, as well as the wider local community and their respect to our vibrant community in Southend.”
The shul's ladies guild put on a Chanucah party in the functions hall which catered for more than 100 elderly members of the community. On Motsei Shabbat, the seventh night, over 60 people attended a party for youngsters.
On the festival's final night the annual gala celebration night reception, attracted local dignitaries including the local MP David Amess and the Mayor.
Shul president Derek Silverstone welcomed the many guests and gave a vote of thanks to “all the passionate volunteers who worked so hard to make Chanucah such an unbelievable community success”.