Bletchley Park will light a nine-foot Menorah this Sunday

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Bletchley Park will light a nine-foot Menorah this Sunday

Public invited to witness historic Chanukah lighting at WWII code-breaking site that employed Jewish service men and women

Bletchley Park Mansion. (Wikipedia/DeFacto)
Bletchley Park Mansion. (Wikipedia/DeFacto)

Britain’s famous wartime code-breaking site Bletchley Park is to host its first ever public Chanukah Menorah lighting this Sunday.

The celebration is in partnership with the Chabad Jewish community of Milton Keynes, where a spokesman described it as “a truly remarkable event, as Jews are experiencing a heightened sense of unity and resolve this Chanukah season”.

Free and open to members of the public, it will feature a nine-foot menorah and entertainment for all ages, including a juggling show, lively music, hot drinks, and a selection of traditional Chanukah foods.

“We are immensely honoured to announce the first public menorah lighting at Bletchley Park, a site that represents the victory of good over evil,” said Rabbi Yitzchak Lew, director at Chabad Jewish Centre of Milton Keynes.

“Since 7 October, the Jewish community has resolved to celebrate their identity with more confidence and resolve. This public Chanukah celebration is about sharing light and joy with Milton Keynes and the broader community.”

Iain Standen of Bletchley Park Trust said he was “looking forward to engaging with the community in Milton Keynes and beyond in a new and exciting way”.

During World War II, Bletchley Park employed dozens of Jewish service men and women. Many had personal connections to the horrors unfolding in Europe and they contributed significantly to the code-breaking efforts that aided the allied war effort.

Pre-war, the Bletchley Park Mansion was home to a prominent Jewish family – the Leons – and is an example of a phenomenon later described as “Jewish country houses” that developed in the 19th century.

The Menorah will be on display near the mansion with an interpretation board explaining the historical links between Bletchley Park and Judaism.

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