We welcomed over 200 guests to Wembley to host a celebration of Chanukah this week

Friday 15 Dec 2023
The lighting of the Menorah took place in view of the Wembley Stadium pitch

Wembley Stadium hosted a celebration of Chanukah on Wednesday evening, featuring an evening of talks, food and song to mark the big contribution of the Jewish community across football.

Hosted by Nicole Holliday, over 200 guests were welcomed by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and FA Chair Debbie Hewitt for an event which offered the community an opportunity to come together against the backdrop of world events that have deeply affected the Jewish diaspora.

FA Chair Debbie Hewitt welcomed guests to the Chanukah event at Wembley

To get things started, a panel discussion took place, featuring Joe Jacobsen of Wycombe Wanderers and former pro Dean Furman, Lord Mann and Catherine Charles of Maccabi GB.

Following an informative and lively discussion, guests moved to face the Stadium bowl for the traditional lighting of the Menorah and prayers with the Chief Rabbi, alongside players and Debbie.

Nicole Holliday hosted a panel discussion with Lord Mann, Catherine Charles, Joe Jacobsen and Dean Furman

And the evening ended with Justin Cohen of the Jewish News, who were our media partner for the event, addressing the audience which was followed by traditional Chanukah food and refreshments before Nicole and Debbie closed the evening with their own reflective comments.

“It was such a privilege to welcome over 200 guests, to our first ever Chanukah celebration at Wembley Stadium and particularly to be joined by the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who lit the Menorah and shared his own funny but very powerful football stories as a young boy growing up and playing football," said Debbie Hewitt.

"As the nation’s number one sport, football has a tremendous power to bring people together and to be a positive force for good across communities and we saw this first hand at this week’s event.

Chief Rabbie Ephraim Mirvis spoke to open the event on Wednesday 13 December

"Many Jewish leaders have spent time with me and my colleagues over the last few weeks and we were so grateful to be able to thank them for continuing to support us on our journey of inclusion.

"Particular thanks go to Rabbi Goldberg and colleague Dal Darroch of the FA for initiating the idea of this event six months ago and to Justin Cohen of Jewish News for helping us to organise and deliver it.”

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels