“More than two thousand years ago, a small group of Jewish believers overcame the odds and courageously defeated and repelled their oppressors, liberating Jerusalem and reclaiming the Holy Temple as their own. As they rededicated the Temple, a second miracle occurred: a small amount of oil that should have lasted one night instead burned for eight. Since that time, Jewish people around the world celebrate the holy tradition of Chanukah, the yearly eight-day Festival of Light, in commemoration of those miracles.
“Born out of the triumph of light over darkness, of freedom over oppression and of tolerance over persecution, this celebration reminds us that miracles can occur even in the darkest of moments, and that justice must always overcome tyranny. Chanukah also reminds us that, here in Canada, we are truly blessed to live in a free, just and tolerant society, one which has been enriched by the innumerable contributions and achievements of the Jewish-Canadian community.
“On this first night of Chanukah, Laureen and I extend our most heartfelt greetings and wishes of hope and peace to families and friends in communities across Canada and around the world who tonight light their Chanukah menorahs.”