A joint Hindu-Jewish or India-Israel Festival of Lights attracted around 400 people to a synagogue in the US as both the communities together celebrated the similarly-themed holidays of Hanukkah and Diwali. EurAsian Times analyses an articles from the Times of Israel on how Hindus from India and Jews from Israel are collaborating in the US to deepen their links and historical association.
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The event, which featured speakers, candle lighting, food from both cultures, dance lessons, and the world’s only Indian-Jewish standup comedian, was hosted by Temple Beth-El in the Chicago.
Highlights from the program included speeches by human rights activist Dr Richard Benkin; Indian Consul Head of Chancery D.B. Bhati; and Aviv Ezra, the Consul General of Israel to the Midwest.
Bhati discussed similarities between Diwali’s festival of lights and the lights of Hanukkah, while Ezra highlighted the strong historical links between Israel and India. That relationship has “grown in even more strong” since Indian PM Narendra Modi and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu paid official visits to each other’s respective countries, Ezra said.
“We need to get together, Hindus and Jews, to protect our heritage and civilization for future of generations,” he said to a roaring applause. Prasad Yalamanchi of the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation also spoke about India’s unquestionable support for Israel and emphasised the shared experiences between Hindus and Jews, including the tremendous losses that both communities encountered due to terrorism.
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Concluding the speeches, Dr Mukherjee — a researcher who has long been an ardent supporter for Hindu-Jewish relations spoke about the 2,500-year history of Hindu-Jewish relationships. “Our two communities today unite to celebrate values dear to us all, of coexistence, tolerance, gender equality, mutual respect and respect for each other’s culture and faith,” Mukherjee said.