Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal’s attempts to mark the start of Hanukkah have backfired spectacularly after both published images of candelabras with the wrong number of branches.
The two clubs issued ‘Happy Hanukkah’ messages on Instagram featuring 11 and seven-branched candelabras, respectively – instead of the correct nine-branched Hanukkiah.
Spurs’s error was quickly spotted by Daniel Sugarman, the director of public affairs for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who posted on X: “I mean... of ANY football team in the UK, I would have assumed that Spurs would have at least one Jewish person on their social media team...”
Tottenham, who actually do have someone Jewish on their social media team, quickly deleted a post that also featured images of the Star of David.
It was then replaced with one they had used a year earlier featuring a candelabra with the correct number of branches but without the Star of David.
— Daniel Sugarman (@Daniel_Sugarman) December 7, 2023
A spokesperson put the original post down to “human error that was swiftly rectified”.
Arsenal’s original post was live for seven hours after being uploaded both to Instagram and X before being replaced with a nine-branched candelabra. A spokesperson has been approached for comment.
Eight of the nine branches of a Hanukkiah hold lights – usually candles or oil lamps – to symbolise the eight days of Hanukkah, during which one is lit each night until all eight are ignited.
The ninth branch holds a candle, called the shamash (helper or servant), which is used to light the other eight.
The Hanukkiah is distinct from the seven-branched menorah used in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem.
Following the Oct 7 terrorist attacks on Israel by Hamas, Spurs and Arsenal were among those criticised for their silence about the atrocity.
They eventually released statements but Tottenham’s was condemned by the chairman of their Tribute Trust, Jonathan Adelman, who tendered his resignation.
Appalled at there having been no specific mention of the terrorist attack or the trauma experienced by the club’s large Jewish following, Adelman accused them of a “catastrophic failure of moral clarity” following “the savage butchery of Jews”.