20 Dec The Subbotnik Jews in Israel and Russia celebrate Chanukah
Today, when Jewish communities all over the world are celebrating the miracle of Chanukah, we are glad to share some new pictures that we received from the Subbotnik communities striving to keep their Jewish heritage despite various difficulties and obstacles they have been facing throughout their history.
The Subbotnik Jews of Beit Shemesh, home to the biggest Subbotnik community in Israel, started to get ready for the holiday in advance by gathering together in the cultural center ‘Netzach Menashe‘ at the pre-Chanukah party organized by Shavei Israel. These parties have become an integral part of each Jewish holiday and meaningful events in the life of Beit Shemesh community where its members can share the latest news about themselves and their relatives still waiting in Russia for the chance to return home to Israel.
The parties always include listening to Jewish music, eating traditional foods and studying with Rabbi Shlomi Zelig Avrasin and this time was no exception. In the pictures you can see the community learning the laws around lighting Chanukah candles so that during the holiday they could perform the mitzvah of pirsumei nisa – the obligation to publicly commemorate the miracle of Chanukah.
The community of Vysoki, not the biggest but definitely the most famous Subbotnik Jewish location in Russia, also gathered together at the local synagogue built several years ago with the support of Shavei Israel and celebrated the first night of Chanukah.
In the first picture Maria Zakharovna, one of the oldest community members, is lightening the first candle of Chanukah. This time the Jews of Vysoki didn’t only enjoy celebrating the holiday together but also followed the Torah scroll reading by using the brand new books donated to the community by one of their former community members, Maria Kolchina, currently based in Israel.
Shavei Israel hopes that the mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles will bring more Jews of Vysoki and other Subbotnik communities of former Soviet Union the opportunity to join them in Israel and make their dream come true!