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A large metal menorah on the stage at Fed Square with a crowd in the background

Chanukah - Pillars of Light

This is a past event


Thursday 7 December 2023
7pm - 9pm

Friday 8 December 2023
5pm - 7pm

Sunday 10 December 2023
5pm - 7pm

11 December 2023 - 14 December 2023
7pm - 9pm


Main Square


Lift access
Wheelchair accessible

Getting There

7-14 December 2023

A little bit of light can dispel a lot of darkness.

Pillars of Light, in celebration of Chanukah, is providing Melbournians with an opportunity to come together over a multicultural celebration, focusing on what unites us as a city.

Each evening features a bespoke program highlighting the core precepts of connection and collaboration through guest speakers, dignitaries, artistic performers, cultural groups, sports people and more, who’ll be invited to light the menorah, bringing together our varied communities through hope, positivity, love and light.

Pillars of Light has sourced local and known multicultural, faith and Indigenous artists and choirs that will perform during the festival.

You are welcome to join us this holiday season for what is a phenomenal display of multiculturalism and diversity in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD – Fed Square!

Pillars of Light thanks its Principal Partner Gandel Foundation and the Victorian Government for their generosity and support over the past 4 years together with the ARK Centre and Fed Square. Gold Partners Pratt Foundation, Erdi Foundation, City of Melbourne, Loti & Victor Smorgon Family Foundation and the Jack & Robert Smorgon Families Foundation.

Pillars of Light is a free event.

Pillars of Light Livestream

The Program

Thursday 7 December | 7pm – 9pm | Theme: Inclusivity
Nightly Partner: Rampersand
Principal Partners: Gandel Foundation, Fed Square, Victorian Government

  • Welcome to Country – Wurundjeri Elder Bill Nicholson
  • MC – Cr Jasmin Nguyen (Brimbank Councillor)
  • Speakers –
    • Ron Finkel (Project Rozana)
    • Kylie Moore Gilbert
    • Nayran Tabiei
  • Shamash Lighter – Ron Finkel (Project Rozana)
  • Menorah Lighters –
    • UJEB Kids
  • Performers –
    • Shaya and Zalman
    • 300 Member Pop Choir
    • Cantor Ivor Joffe

Friday 8 December | 5pm – 7pm | Theme: Diversity
Principal Partners: Gandel Foundation, Fed Square, Victorian Government

  • MC – Bianca Stern (All Things Equal)
  • Speakers –
    • Lord Mayor Sally Capp
    • Mo Elrafihi (CEO, Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria)
    • Kano Ravalji (Youth Commissioner, Victorian Multicultural Commission)
    • Andrew Giles (Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs)
  • Shamash Lighter – Peter Gaspar (Courage to Care Victoria)
  • Menorah Lighters –
    • Abiola Akinbiyi (President, Changepreneurs Inc & Director, Melbourne Primary Care Network)
    • Harper and Piper
  • Performers –
    • Max Konig
    • With One Voice Choir

Sunday 10 December | 5pm – 7pm | Theme: Harmony
Nightly Partner: The Joint
Principal Partners: Gandel Foundation, Fed Square, Victorian Government

  • MC – Konstantinos Kalymnios (Greek Community Leader)
  • Speakers –
    • Mark Dreyfus (Attorney-General of Australia)
    • Christopher Gogos (Director & Publisher, Neos Kosmos)
    • Jeana Vithoulkas (Greek Community Leader)
  • Shamash Lighter – Ziggy Lovegrove (Construction & Planning Lawyer and Manager, Lovegrove & Cotton) & Eli Borowick
  • Menorah Lighters –
    • Helen Finlay (President, The Australian Children’s Choir)
    • Gautam Gupta (Director & Founder, SarasCare)
    • Rohini Kappadath (General Manager, Immigration Museum)
    • Anthie Sidiroulos (Vice President of the Greek Community)
    • Sotiris Hatzimanolis (Editor, Neos Kosmos)
  • Performers –
    • Australian Childrens Choir
    • Irine and Achilles
    • Brett Kaye

Monday 11 December | 7pm – 9pm | Theme: Connection
Principal Partners: Gandel Foundation, Fed Square, Victorian Government

  • MC – Vedran Drakulic OAM (CEO, Gandel Philanthropy)
  • Speakers –
    • Prof. Hariz Halilovich (RMIT University)
    • Katrina Sedgwick (CEO, Melbourne Arts Precinct Corporation)
  • Shamash Lighter – Paul and Angela Wheelton (Wheelton Social Impact)
  • Menorah Lighters –
    • Premier Jacinta Allen
    • Mark Melvin (CEO, Committee for Melbourne)
    • Seb Chan (CEO, ACMI)
    • Marcus Godinho (CEO, FareShare)
    • Fabiola Campbell (Regional Advisory Councils, Victorian Multicultural Commission)
    • Tammy Nguyen (Director, Multicultural Museums Victoria)
    • Sisay Dinku (Managing Director, Multicultural Consulting Services)
  • Performers –
    • Ari & Shalev
    • Men In Suits
    • Fifth of Nisan

Tuesday 12 December | 7pm – 9pm | Theme: Health
Nightly Partner: Vic Health
Principal Partners: Gandel Foundation, Fed Square, Victorian Government

  • MC – Dr Sandro Demaio (CEO, Vic Health) & John Safran
  • Speaker –
    • Jayne Hrdlicka (CEO, Virgin Australia Airlines)
    • Alice Zaslavsky (Alice in Frames)
  • Shamash Lighter – Alice Zaslavsky (Alice in Frames)
  • Menorah Lighters –
    • Dr Sue Matthews (CEO, The Royal Women’s Hospital)
    • Abraham Abraham (Multicultural Programs Officer, Football Victoria)
    • Suzanne Dembo (Director of Philanthropy and External Affairs, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra)
    • Bill Papastergiadis OAM (President of the Greek Community)
    • Atal Zsafi
    • Inspector Geoffrey Owen
  • Performers –
    • Wala African drums
    • Starr Brothers

Wednesday 13 December | 7pm – 9pm | Theme: Youth
Nightly Partner: AMF
Principal Partners: Gandel Foundation, Fed Square, Victorian Government

  • MC – Felicity Sinfield (Mayor, City of Boroondara)
  • Speakers –
    • Dr Hass Dellal AO (Executive Director, AMF)
    • Ingrid Stitt (Minister for Multicultural Affairs)
    • David Southwick MP
  • Shamash Lighter – Jonathan Mortimer (Board Chair, Melbourne City Mission)
  • Menorah Lighters –
    • Susan Gin (Asialink)
    • Viv Nguyen AM (Chairperson, Victorian Multicultural Commison)
    • Niki Vincent (Commissioner, Gender Equality in the Public Sector)/Joseph Haweil (Mayor, Hume City Council)
    • Todd Harper (CEO, Cancer Council Victoria)
    • Sunny Duggal (Regional Advisory Council Member, Victorian Multicultural Commission)
    • Florence Dato (Community Organiser, Migrant Workers Centre) & Ian Hamm (Chair of the Board of Directors, Koorie Heritage Trust)
    • Rita Seumanutafa-Palala (Founder & Managing Director, Pacific Island Creative Arts Australia)
    • Lauren Mullings (Co-CEO & Creative Director, MAV)
  • Performers –
    • The Rustica Project Italian Folk
    • MazelRock
    • Gruppo Culturale Italiano

Thursday 14 December | 7pm – 9pm | Theme: Reconciliation
Nightly Partner: Bnei Brith/Stand Up
Principal Partners: Gandel Foundation, Fed Square, Victorian Government

  • MC – Mike Zervos OAM (CEO, Courage to Care Vic)
  • Speakers –
    • Todd Fernando (Victorian Commissioner for LGBTIQA+ Communities)
    • Sheena Watt MP
  • Shamash Lighter – Mike Sum (Chair, Asylum Seeker Resource Centre)
  • Menorah Lighters –
    • Uncle Raymond Finn
    • Glenn Loughrey (Vicar, St Oswald’s Anglican Church)
    • Benny Monheit (President, B’nai B’rith Victoria)
    • Daniel Aghion (President, Executive Council of Australian Jewry)
    • Phillip Zajac (President, Jewish Community Council of Victoria)
    • Ro Allan (Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner)
    • The Most Venerable Sudhep Nan (Abbot of the Monastery of Wat Buddharangsi Melbourne) accompanied by Venerable Satha So (Personal Assistant of the Abbot and Dharma Teacher)
    • Maureen Barten (President, Progressive Judaism Victoria)
    • Holly Feldman (Victorian President, AUJS)
    • Henry Buch (Holocaust Survivor)
    • Mike Debinski (Co-President, Melbourne Holocaust Museum)
  • Performers –
    • Cory & Co
    • Monica Weightman & Band
    • SARAY Illuminado

Click here to see the 2022 line-up!