Head boy Aaron Spalter along with Deputy Head boy Alex Spencer-Hope and Deputy Head Girl Rosie Ferner-Cornhouse were fantastic ambassadors of JCoSS on Tuesday evening, where they delivered an excellent and thought provoking speech at the prestigious Chanukah in the Square event at Trafalgar Square. They were the only students to speak at the event, and their speech was very well received.
A copy of their speech can be read below:
Aaron: Good evening ladies, gentlemen…. Tonight we are here to kindle the Chanukah lights. Chanukah brings light into our homes and our lives. Each night we add an additional light, and increasing the amount of light and joy as the week goes on. We are forbidden to use the lights for personal gain – for light to read by or warmth to heat a room. Their purpose is not physical but symbolic.
Alex: We are so proud to be here tonight representing our school JCoSS is a pluralist school, which means that any level of Judaism is embraced. The school motto- ‘These and these are the words of the Living God’ explains that a wide variety of opinions and perspectives are taken into account when teaching.
Rosie: At this festive time of year, I would like everyone to think about how truly inspirational the story of Chanukah is. As a simple story, it is a miracle that the oil lasted for eight days but it is yet another amazing example of the challenges that the Jewish people have had to face over the centuries and how we have overcome them to be here today. We decided to go around our school and ask a variety of different people the same question. “What inspires you?” We got many different responses. Some quoted family members while others spoke of inspirational singers or great leaders. The one thing that everyone had in common was that something or someone inspired them. This common bond demonstrates our real sense of togetherness and I cannot think of a better way to celebrate this than at this event this evening
Aaron: Standing here, we are inspired by seeing the Christmas tree along side the chanukiah and how we all share this festive period as a time of celebration, reflection and joy. It shows that the 2 religions stand together as an example of tolerance and pluralism.
Alex: Next year we will be marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps. We are reminded of the stories told of the spiritual resistance shown by a group of prisoners at Auschwitz who saved their meagre ration of margarine, fashioned a wick from pieces of uniform and kindled the Chanukah lights. Tonight we are inspired by their memory.
Aaron: We would like to leave you with the question…”what inspires you?”
Alex: Thank you for listening. Chag Sameach