Shliach Relights Menorah Days After Aggressive Extinguishing

Poland Shliach Rabbi Shalom Ber Stambler held a second lighting in the Polish Parliament on Thursday night after an anti-Semitic parliamentarian extinguished the Menorah after lighting it on Tuesday.

After a disruption at its 17th annual Chanukah menorah lighting at the Polish Parliament building (the Sejm) by parliamentarian Grzegorz Braun on Tuesday night, Chabad of Poland returned to the parliament building to light new candles for the eighth night of Chanukah. This marks the group’s 18th time lighting the Chanukah candelabra in the heart of Polish government.

The special event, marking the first time the Chanukah menorah was lit twice in one year at the parliament building, was attended by members of parliament and the country’s Jewish community, and included a special appearance by Poland’s President Andrzej Duda.

On Tuesday, the candle lighting ceremony was disrupted by Braun who took a fire extinguisher from a wall in the lobby of the parliament and walked over and extinguished Chanukah candles, creating a cloud of white powder that forced security guards to rush those present, including children, out of the area, and left one member of the Jewish community hospitalized.

“Just a couple of days ago, as I walked out of this room to offer the evening prayers, I thought to myself- next year will be the 18th time we light the Menorah in the Sejm. Eighteen is a significant number in Jewish tradition, the numeric value of the word “Chai” or Life.

The 18th lighting was to be an even more special occasion celebrating the continuity of Jewish faith and tradition in Poland, where Jews have existed and continue to exist, despite some of the dark episodes of antisemitism experienced within the borders of modern-day Poland over the last 200 years,” Rabbi Shalom Ber Stambler, Chabad of Poland’s director shared with the audience.

“As we all know and have recently been reminded of the darkness of antisemitism. Be it the October 7 pogrom in Israel, which saw innocent civilians attacked on one of the holiest days in the Jewish calendar, brutally murdered, raped, tortured and taken captive, or events closer to home in Europe and in this very room itself.

“So tonight, as we light the menorah in this room for its 18th time, lets spread the light of religious tolerance, let’s stand together as one Poland united against antisemitism in every place, and lets celebrate “life” and the continuity of the Jewish community of Poland,” he added.

Rabbi Stambler then shared the background behind his group originally approaching Parliamentary leadership around Chanukah 2006, and hosting the annual gathering ever since.

He shared, “The Holiday of Chanukah is about spreading the light. 50 years ago, in the wake of the Yom Kippur war, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson launched a campaign among his followers, the Chabad Lubavitch movement, to light menorahs like this one across the world in every possible place, including ultimately the Sejm.

“In moments of darkness, our Rebbe told us to combat it by spreading the light of religious tolerance. How apropos that today we return to this site to spread that light, along with the firm message- antisemitism will not be tolerated in Poland.”

In 2005, Rabbi Shalom Ber Stambler and his wife, Rebbetzin Dina Stambler, were appointed the country’s Lubavitch emissaries, charged with opening a Jewish communal center meant to attract and support the spiritual growth of many of the Jews who lost their faith during and following the war, and others who grew up in the post-Holocaust era and lacked the spiritual and communal connections to the Jewish people.

Today, those individuals, their children and grandchildren make up a large and still growing group of committed participants in Jewish tradition with some even studying in international rabbinical seminaries.

Since the start of the Russian incursion into Ukraine, Chabad of Poland based in Warsaw has opened its doors to Ukraine’s Jewish community offering refuge, transportation, kosher food, medical aid, financial and material assistance, childcare, educational and social services, communal activities and administrative and legal aid to tens of thousands displaced by the conflict.

Since the start of the war, Chabad in Poland has seen its expenses rise by more than US $2 million. For more information or to contribute to relief efforts, please visit:

In keeping in line with the Rabbonim's policies for websites, we do not allow comments. However, our Rabbonim have approved of including input on articles of substance (Torah, history, memories etc.)

We appreciate your feedback. If you have any additional information to contribute to this article, it will be added below.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

advertise package