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THE HOLIDAY WAS GREAT !

Chanukah - 5763  Hesed "Efraim" began preparations for the lightest and merriest Jewish holiday - Chanukah a month ago. The script was worked out and the date was set - the 1 of December. The community was waiting impatiently for the eight happy days.

  And the holiday was really great. In spite of the frost (-32 ) the house was full. The head of the Jewish cultural center Mark Vitkin congratulated the guests in Russian and Hebrew. Then the JCC director Svetlana Makarovskaya read out the greetings sent from other Kazakhstani communities and from abroad.

  The coordinator of religious programs Lev Kuntarovsky said an ancient prayer "Al ha-Nisim" ("About Miracles") composed in the period of Hasmonees and offered up on holidays. After that "Shalom" music band sang two songs: "Chanukah, a Merry Holiday" and "Let's Light Up Chanukah Candles". And then there was the culmination point of the meeting - Lev Kuntarovsky said the prayer over the Chanukah candles. After the candles were lit the choir of boys said "Shma, Yisrael" prayer and sang "Chanukah Lights" song.

  After the solemn ceremony the guests tasted the traditional food: latkes and sufganiot. The rest of the celebration was no less merry, interesting, and tasty. "Shalom" band sang favorite songs, children and adults solved Chanukah quiz and were awarded with prizes. It was pleasant to see that Tzedakah was not left aside - it meant that for many people Mizvot became a part of observing the Jewish Tradition.

  A family that has recently come back from Israel heartily thanked organizers of the celebration and said: "Believe us, we haven't celebrated Chanukah so warmly and merrily even in Israel. The holiday was great. Thank all of you!'

Igor Zhigarlovsky

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