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First sufgania in Israel


Modi’in,  Young new Olim from ages 3-10, who made Aliyah to Israel from the U.S. this past summer with the help of Nefesh B’Nefesh, the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, The Jewish Agency for Israel and Keren Kayemet L'Israel, celebrated Chanukah at a special Nefesh B’Nefesh gathering in Modi’in. At the event, these young Olim tasted their first Israeli sufgania (jelly donut), played for the first time with ‘Made in Israel’ dreidels that display the words "a great miracle happened here" and not "a great miracle happened there" as it says outside Israel, and enjoyed endless chocolate gelt (coins).

Nefesh B’Nefesh Vice Chairman Erez Halfon said: "Chanukah is a family holiday that spreads its light to Jewish communities around the world. With that said, it is a great joy to celebrate with these new young immigrants as they experience their first Chanukah in Israel, here and not there, as the dreidel says, and to see their impressive and smooth integration into Israeli society."



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Over 8,000 IDF soldiers receive Chanukah gift cards from The Fellowship and FIDF

More than $1.5 million will be spent as part of this year’s “Chanukah Fellowship Gift Cards” project



Israel,  The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), in collaboration with the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers (AWIS), will provide “Fellowship Gift Cards” as Chanukah gifts to over 8,000 soldiers in-need and Lone Soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) so that the soldiers can celebrate Chanukah without the burden of financial stress.



The gift cards can be used in major retail chain stores across Israel to purchase food, clothing, shoes, sports, and leisure products. Among the soldiers who will receive this financial support will also be 2,500 Lone Soldiers, young men and women who choose to leave their countries of origin to immigrate to Israel and serve in the IDF. Lone Soldiers come from all corners of the globe to become part of the IDF melting pot and enrich it as well as add to its magnitude.



Over the past six years (2008-2013), FIDF and The Fellowship have provided almost $16 million of financial support to soldiers from low-income families.



As part of this support, FIDF and The Fellowship will distribute the “Fellowship Gift Cards” during the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah, and Passover. This campaign is administered in collaboration with the IDF Personnel Directorate and reaches every eligible IDF soldier.



Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, Founder and President of The Fellowship, said: “The growing cycle of poverty in Israel affects many soldiers. We appreciate the soldiers who decide to serve the State of Israel and keep us all safe despite the economic difficulties they are experiencing at home. Our goal in sponsoring the ‘Fellowship Gift Cards’ is to enable them to fulfill their obligation to the state while knowing they are fulfilling their obligation to their families as well. Now they can serve with peace of mind while caring for their personal needs and the needs of their families.”



“FIDF sees in the holiday of Chanukah another opportunity to support thousands of brave IDF soldiers, who serve as the Maccabees of the 21st Century,” stated FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon. “It is a great privilege, stemming from our mission and the vision of strengthening those who protect Israel, while further reinforcing the important bond between the community in America, the State of Israel, and its soldiers.”



Attached please find a photo of Israel Defense Forces soldiers from the Givati Brigade lighting Chanukah candles.

Photo credit: Friends of the IDF



About The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews:

The Fellowship was founded in 1983 by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein to promote understanding between Jews and Christians and build broad support for Israel and other shared concerns. Our ministry's vision is that Jews and Christians will reverse their 2,000-year history of discord and replace it with a relationship marked by dialogue, respect, and cooperation.



About Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF):

FIDF was established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors as a 501(C)(3) not-for-profit organization with the mission of providing and supporting educational, social, cultural, and recreational programs and facilities for the heroic men and women of the IDF. Today, FIDF has more than 120,000 loyal supporters, and 15 regional offices throughout the U.S. and Panama. FIDF proudly offers its support to the IDF soldiers and their families through a variety of unique and innovative programs. These opportunities reinforce the vital bond between the communities in the United States, the soldiers of the IDF, and the State of Israel.
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Speaker of the Knesset Lights Chanukah Candles with IDF Lone Soldiers

Jerusalem, Israel, Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein participated in a special Chanukah candle-lighting ceremony for the sixth night of Chanukah, together with several Cabinet Ministers and Members of Knesset. The ceremony was also attended by 60 Lone Soldiers, arranged by Nefesh B’Nefesh, Friends of the IDF (FIDF), Tzofim Garin Tzabar, and Ha'aguda Lema'an Hachayal (The Association for the Welfare of Soldiers).

“I’m happy and thrilled to be here to continue the tradition of lighting Chanukah candles in the Knesset. The lighting of the candles symbolizes the freedom of the people of Israel, and is especially relevant here in the Knesset because we have our own parliament, and despite all the disagreements that take place in it, we have the freedom to govern ourselves,” said Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.

Five Lone Soldiers joined Edelstein as he lit the Chanukah candles. The soldiers, who are originally from Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, France, Japan, and Uruguay made Aliyah to Israel to join the IDF with the support of Nefesh B’Nefesh and the FIDF.

Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh, said at the ceremony, “We are honored to have the Knesset Speaker light the Chanukah candles with these Lone Soldiers, in this symbolic salute to all those who left their families and homes in order to make Aliyah and serve the Jewish State through the Nefesh B’Nefesh/FIDF Lone Soldiers program.”
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A Great Miracle Happened

Miriam Spitz Kahan , Every year as a child when Chanukah was approaching, my teachers brought out the Chanukah materials so that we could learn about the resistance and the triumph of the Maccabees. Trying to explain to children that one small vial of oil lasted 8 glorious days instead of just 1, seemed a miracle in itself!
But as kids, we just looked forward to the dreidel game that somehow, always had me landing on the Shin.
נ (Nun) – Take Nothing
ג (Gimel) – Take All
ה (Hey) – Take Half
ש (Shin) – Add 1 to the pot
When I complained to my mother about the Shin, my mother always responded with optimism. "Look at the greater picture. You could have landed on the Nun."
A few years later, I learned the important and historical meaning of these letters and the phrase:
Nes Gadol Haya Sham, A Great Miracle Happened There.
There, of course was the Land of Israel, the land of Yehuda HaMakabi, ‘Judah the Hammer’, the homeland of the Jewish people, my people, the land of miracles
My teacher then explained that kids in Israel also play with dreidels ( in Hebrew Sivivon, סביבון). Only, their dreidels do not have a Shin (ש), but a Peh (פ).
Instead of what we know in the Diaspora, that ‘A Great Miracle Happened There - Nes Gadol Haya Sham', in Israel the phrase is, ‘A Great Miracle Happened Here - Nes Gadol Haya Poh’.
Many years later after making Aliyah, I was ecstatic to throw my first Chanukah party as an Israeli citizen. In keeping with the Chanukah spirit, my friend brought Chanukah gelt, latkes and of course a dreidel.

We were just about to start spinning the dreidel so I could feel like a kid again and win some of the delicious chocolate gelt, when I looked down at the dreidel and I saw the Hebrew letter Peh (פ).
The difference of one letter, one word – it strengthened the entire meaning of Chanukah for me. It was something so small, but so very meaningful.
I, Miriam, was finally living HERE in the Land of Israel, the land of Yehuda HaMakabi, ‘Judah the Hammer’, the homeland of the Jewish people, my people, the land of miracles. I have always felt connected, but this was something different.
Something powerful. Something beautiful.
I continuously think about our 2,000 year old history with the many challenges and triumphs. This is yet another triumph that we honor every year.
It has become almost too easy to forget that the place where this 'Great Miracle Happened’ still exists.
It is and should be a part of every candle that we light, and the message we teach to our children, both Here and There.
Happy Chanukah and Chag Sameach!
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Potato Latkes

Ingedients:

8 large potatoes grated in a food processor
1 onion grated in a food processor
1 cup flour
3 eggs
salt and pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
salt and pepper to taste

Grate the potatoes in a food processor with the onion using the thin grating blade. Add to them to the flour, eggs, salt and pepper.
Form small patties with both hands without ever squeezing, and lower them into a hot oil , fry until golden, about 3 minutes on each side.
Remove and drain on paper towels.

Variations:

Vegetable latkes: Replace the potatoes with a mixture of zucchini, carrots and parsnips. Add seasonings of your choice such as oregano, garlic and basil.

Sweet potato latkes: Substitute sweet potatoes for the regular potatoes, and add brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger to taste.

Potato Kugel: Add 1/3 cup of vegetable oil to the potato latke batter. Pour the batter into a greased loaf or square pan, and bake uncovered in a preheated 375 degree F oven for one hour or until the top is golden brown.
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ChanukahGiving: Showing Thanks To Our Modern Day Maccabees

ChanukahGiving: Showing Thanks To Our Modern Day Maccabees


The overlap of Chanukah and Thanksgiving has made major headlines this year, sparking celebratory campaigns for Thanksgivukkah and the Menurkey. While for some the emphasis is on the turkey, ChanukahGiving is focused on emphasizing the giving of thanks and its connection to the historical events surrounding the Chanukah miracle.

ChanukahGiving encourages Jews from all over the world to acknowledge and appreciate our modern day Maccabees: the fighters in the Israel Defense Forces. Among these brave young men and women are the Lone Soldiers, Diaspora Jews who selflessly serve to defend and protect our Jewish Nation. There is so much that can be learned from their commitment to Israel, and The Lone Soldier Project of The Israel Forever Foundation is determined to inspire an Israel connection in others around the world through their stories.

In honor of this special holiday, on Thursday, November 28, 2013 at 7.30 P.M. (Israel Time), more than 500 soldiers will be treated to a special evening of traditional Thanksgiving and Chanukah foods.

People from around the world will be able to virtually participate in this event by joining in for a special candle lighting ceremony that will be live-streamed on www.israelforever.org. Family and friends will be also be invited to say hello and share their messages of encouragement and support during the holiday season.

So as we celebrate the beautiful festival of lights, and commemorate the Maccabean resistance, please join us in giving the gift of thanks.

Happy ChanukahGiving everyone - let the giving begin!

For more information on joining this one-of-a-kind experience, come visit us at http://israelforever.org/programs/LoneSoldierProject/ChanukahGiving/
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Chanukah

 Chanukah began on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev. Chanukah commemorates the Jewish Maccabees' military victory over the Greeks and the rededication of the second temple, which had been desecrated by the Greeks, to the worship of God. Hanukkah is a celebration of Jewish national survival and religious freedom. 

 
For eight nights we light the Menorah ( Hanukkiah), one candle on the first night and an additional candle each night. On the eight's night all candles are lit.
 
We lit the Menorah (with the blessings) by the window to publicize the miracle of Hanukah. It is also a tradition to sing songs after the lighting.
 
The traditional Hanukkah food is rich in oil ( Soofganyut- Chanukah doughnuts and latkes-potato pancakes) to commemorate the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days.

 

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