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8 snapshots of Hanukkah celebrations from around the world



(JTA) — Hanukkah may be considered a “minor holiday,” as rabbis will say, but its resonance and unique traditions offer a great window into Jewish communities around the world.

We’ve rounded up eight images, one for each candle of the menorah, that give a snapshot into how Jews — and, in a couple instances, how a few notable non-Jews — are celebrating the festival of lights this year, from Chile to Ukraine to Taiwan.

Kharkiv, Ukraine

Rabbi Moishe Moskovych lights the first Hanukkah candle. (Vyacheslav Madiyevskyi / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Most of the Jews of Kharkiv, formerly one of Ukraine’s hubs of Jewish life, are believed to have left since the start of the Russian war in February. But on Sunday, residents of the city in northeastern Ukraine found some respite on Sunday night at the Kharkiv Choral Synagogue, where, in an event led by a local chapter of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, participants made wax candles, wrapped tefillin and ate latkes with applesauce.

Denver, Colorado

(Image courtesy of Aish of the Rockies)

The Denver chapter of NCSY, the Orthodox Union’s youth group, unveiled a Lego menorah on Sunday that was built by over 425 teens and constructed from 25,000 Lego bricks. Standing at more than 24 and a half feet tall, the structure will be taken apart and the bricks will be donated to children in foster care in the United States and in Israel.

Denver NCSY’s leader, Rabbi Yonatan Nuszen, claims it is the largest Lego menorah in the world, will be taken apart and the bricks will be donated to children in foster care in the United States and in Israel. Another Lego menorah, though, claims it deserves the title of the largest in the world — this one in Israel.

Tel Aviv, Israel

A Lego menorah in Tel Aviv is in the running for a Guinness World Record. (Lego Store Israel/Instagram)

North Miami Beach-based artist Yitzchok Kasowitz claims that his Lego menorah at the Lego Store in Dizengoff Center, built with around 130,000 pieces, is the largest of its kind. According to the Times of Israel, it took a group of “Lego experts” just two marathon days to put it together.

Santiago, Chile

Chilean president Gabriel Boric lights the menorah accompanied by president and vice president of the Jewish community in Chile, Gerardo Gorodischer and Ariela Agosin, and chaplain of La Moneda, Rabbi Eduardo Waingortin. (Courtesy of the Chilean Jewish Community)

Chile’s far-left president Gabriel Boric has a complicated relationship with most of his country’s Jewish community, and he sparked a minor diplomatic crisis with Israel in September when he rebuffed the credentials of an Israeli envoy.

But on the Friday before Hanukkah, he attended his first official candle-lighting ceremony as president, in what has become a tradition at the La Moneda presidential palace for the last 14 years.

Speaking on Boric’s behalf, Chile’s Secretary General Ana Lya Uriarte said, “This celebration reassures the right that everyone has to practice their faith anywhere, anytime. Lighting these candles means illuminating us during easy and hard times.”

El presidente de la República, señor Gabriel Boric, el Capellán judío de La Moneda, Rabino Eduardo Waingortin, el presidente y la vicepresidenta de la Comunidad Judía de Chile, Gerardo Gorodischer y Ariela Agosin, encienden la vela servidora de la #Janukia.#JanucaEnLaMoneda

— Comunidad Judía de Chile (@comjudiachile) December 16, 2022

Helena, Montana

For the first time in nearly 90 years, Hanukkah lights shine from Temple Emanu-El. (Courtesy of Montana Jewish Project)

For the first time since 1934, the Jewish community of Helena celebrated Hanukkah on Sunday at Temple Emanu-El, the state’s first synagogue, after a months-long effort to buy back the building from the Catholic Diocese. The interfaith event was attended by nearly 150 guests, who enjoyed a (much smaller) menorah lighting, latkes, a photo booth, arts and crafts, and dreidel-playing. It was the first time in nearly 90 years that Hanukkah lights shone from this building.

Mumbai, India

(Gabe Miner)

Mumbai’s Jewish community, led by the Chabad of Mumbai, lit a large menorah this week at the Gateway of India, an early 20th century monument in the shape of an archway. After the candles were lit, guests were treated to a Hanukkah performance from students at the local Jewish school, featuring dancing and plastic swords. About 5,000 Jews live in Mumbai today.

São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

(Michelle Bolsonaro/Instagram)

On Monday, public Hanukkah candle lighting ceremonies took place in Brazil’s two most populous cities, where hundreds of people gathered to watch and the ceremonies were televised. Brazil’s first lady Michelle Bolsonaro posted a photo of a menorah and a bible in front of Brazilian and Israeli flags on her Instagram account, which received more than 420,000 likes. Her caption included the blessing for the Hanukkah candles in Hebrew.

Taipei, Taiwan

Members of the Taiwan Jewish Community hard at work on their menorahs. (Courtesy of Benjamin Schwall)

In the weeks preceding Hanukkah, members of the Taiwan Jewish Community in Taipei head to the Yingge district — an area famous for its production of ceramics — to shape and fire their own menorahs in what has become an annual tradition. The menorahs were then used to ring in the first night of Hanukkah on Sunday.

Jordyn Haime contributed to this article.

The post 8 snapshots of Hanukkah celebrations from around the world appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.

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Local News

Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary



By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”

Raquel Dancho (left), Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St.Paul, and Nikki Spigelman, President, Gwen Secter Centre

Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)

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Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station



This is a developing story.

(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.

An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.

Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.

The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.

The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to  transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.

Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.

The post Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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