"Mitsva" Association
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Hag Sameakh!  Our people founded their own state at the intersection of three continents - Europe, Asia and Africa. All Great Empires of the Ancient World tried to posses this strategically important territory. Different armed tribes came to this land: Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Arabs, Turkish and many others. But victorious armies of powerful states ran into a heavy opposition (sometimes successful, sometimes not). The same situation was in 2nd century BC when Israeli warriors under the direction of Jehuda Makkavey won the superior numbers of Selevkids and restored the independent Jewish State. It existed for 100 years. Only 100 years匬robably we can say entire 100 years. Because of Hanukkah Holiday our forefathers' feat of arms will remain in our cultural tradition forever. For Jews all over the world Hanukkah is the expression of their pride and national self-identification.

  The leaders of Aktobe Jewish Community were telling all this during Hanukkah Opening Ceremony in the City Drama Theatre. Director of Hesed "Sarah" Yelena Untenko celebrated everybody with the Holiday of Light and Freedom. The Chairman of the Board Mark Ioffe handed over warm greeting from FSU Jewish Organizations. Director of Jewish Community Center Irina Kopyto reminded the Hanukkah this year coincided with the celebration of 10th year of Independence of Kazakhstan, she finished the official part of her speech with the words: "To all - Kazakhs and Jews, Russians and Tatars, to Christians and Muslims we are sending our Hanukkah Greeting - To have oil in a pot for the nearest 1000 years!"

  Than there was a performance prepared by amateur group under the direction of Polina Savitskaya. All poems, sketches, dances, choral and solo singing were addressed to one culmination minute - lightening of Hanukkah candles.
  The scenario of the performance reproduced the historical events - history of fighting and Makkaveys' victory and miracle of Hanukkah light. Anton Syomin and Alexander Litvak played Antioch and Jehuda Makkavey very well. And also the audience liked their costumes very much. Contrary to the threatening Antioch's order not to study Torah children studied it, pretending playing with dreidl. Dreidl is a whirligig, which was made by our designer Nadezhda Korneyeva.

  Children chorus, based on Jewish Sunday School made its debut on the Holiday. The heads of the chorus are Asya Arnus and Lyudmila Tugushi. The ensemble "Atikva"(under direction of Tatyana Novitskaya and Irina Kopyto) has updated its repertoire. Without an exaggeration we can say that they sang Hanukkah songs "Adon Alam" and "Dreidl" high professionally. The participants of the ensemble managed to express the profundity and beauty of Jewish songs very really. The "Hatikva" ensemble started to sing songs not only in Hebrew but in Yiddish as well.

  After the concert the guests were offered some refreshments. And of course, traditional Hanukkah dishes - potato latkes and donuts with jam, cooked by Nadezhda Meshcheryakova and Lina Vanshtein, were the main dishes on the table.

  In the end of the holiday there were dances to the accompaniment of the splendid Jazz band. And there was a big surprise! The participants of the Dance Club, initiated by Mark Ioffe, danced Hava Nagila. The audience cheered dancers.

  Everybody regardless of age, sex, weight or talent can participate in the Dance Club. The only condition is to love and want to dance Jewish dances.

  The Holiday became an outstanding event it was one more step in cultural development of our Community.

Irina Soboleva

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