Moldova: Chanukah candles that lit up the darkness
In light of the turmoil in the region and the war in Ukraine, Chabad of Moldova prepared a festive Chanukah program for all members of the community, refugees and guests. 30 events were held for Chanukah 5783, thanks to the wonderful efforts of the Shluchim and the community members who gave their time to help make this Chanukah special!
Jewish life in Kishinev is as vibrant as ever
For each of the eight days of Chanukah, lighting of the community’s central menorah took place in the newly rebuilt Chabad Central Synagogue in Kishinev. All participants also everyone had the opportunity to purchase a Chanukah menorah and fulfill the mitzvah of lighting candles at home. Every day, the synagogue’s kitchen prepared thousands of traditional Chanukah jelly doughnuts that were delivered to Jews all across the country. The Shluchim and their families went to visit the community members all over the country and celebrate the holiday with them at home.
Celebrating Chanukah at the airport
Chabad House at Kishinev International Airport operated non-stop throughout the holiday. Jelly doughnuts, menorahs, and reading material about the meaning of the holiday were distributed to those interested so that every arriving guest would know where and how to celebrate the Festival of Light. Rabbi Shmuel Zalmanov organized the activity along with Mendy Nachshon and Benzi Koravsky.
Chabad Kindergarten celebrates Chanukah
Chaya Mushka Zalmanov organized a wonderful Chanukah party at the Jewish Kindergarten in Kishinev. The children made colorful decorations, sang Chanukah songs, ate jelly doughnuts, and baked cookies in the shape of dreidels. The school was decorated beyond recognition, adding to the feel of the holiday atmosphere. The teachers made beautiful candles with pictures of each child, and hung paintings and drawings of children on the wall in honor of the holiday.
On the first night of Chanukah, a holiday program was organized for the Sunday school children under the direction of Ms. Yocheved Milichenko. The entire day was dedicated to Chanukah: a Chanukah traditions lesson, an activity building menorahs from clay and candy, a Chanukah art class, watching Chanukah cartoons, and listening to Chanukah songs. Every child and teacher at the Sunday school received a souvenir of Chanukah 5783!
That evening, the lighting of the first Chanukah candle took place in the central synagogue. Participants in the synagogue’s various educational programs and their parents, synagogue employees and other organizations all joined together. After lightingf the Menorah, everyone was invited to participate in a special Chanukah quiz. People came together in teams, sat at tables, and answered very difficult but interesting questions about the holiday. All the teams showed a great understanding of the holiday. After the awards, everyone was invited to a meal with traditional treats and Chanukah songs and dancing. As always, there were lots of fun and happy faces!
Chanukah in the Transnistria Region
Four Chanukah parties took place in the separatist region of Transnistria in the cities of Rivnitz, Soroka, Dubasari, and Bender. In Bender, an unusually large celebration took place this year thanks to the chairman of the Jewish community Mark Finkelstein. Bender Mayor Roman Ivanchenko also supported the celebration. A 4-meter menorah was placed in the heart of the city, and the play “Alien” was presented on stage at the Palace of Culture. After the wonderful performance, all guests enjoyed traditional Chanukah doughnuts and lit the first candle in the square.
Crowd gathering in Balti
For the lighting of the second Chanukah candle, Rabbi Mendel Axelrod and his family visited the Balti community. The rabbi greeted everyone and recounted the history and traditions of the holiday. His children prepared wonderful numbers with Chanukah songs for all those gathered and gave them all Chanukah tzedakah. The holiday was cheerful, delicious, and very musical!
Chanukah parties throughout the country from north to south!
Brothers Zalman and Yosef Goetzel came to Moldova from Israel to help organize Chanukah parties throughout the country. Their efforts reached Jewish homes and communities in cities such as Cahul, Besseravska, Komrat, Chimishlia, Rivnitsa, Soroki, Orgiev, Brichany, Lipkani and Dubusry. In some towns, the local community gathered in a restaurant or hall where they usually gather for the holidays and participated in candle lighting as well as Chanukah singing and dancing. We are so glad that Jews all over the country were able to celebrate Chanukah this year!
Chanukah Party for women
The Chabad Central Synagogue held a beautiful and special Chanukah event for women. Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Axelrod opened the event with a reminder of the importance of gathering together as a community. The women heard beautiful stories about Chanukah traditions, and the event concluded with a game and dessert.
Chanukah for students and youth
Members of the “Enerjew” youth club met for a special Chanukah party and built a menorah in a clay workshop this year. They also held a special party for the Israeli students in the synagogue with a festive program. Everyone had a great time!
Closing Chanukah with a children’s event
At the end of the Chanukah week, which was packed with light, miracles, and joy, was an event for children at the central synagogue in Kishinev. The celebration was attended by students from the Sunday School, the kindergarten, and children of the Jewish community in the city. The youngest children were helped by their parents or older siblings. The Chanukah Party began with music and professional photography for children in a special photography area. There was plenty of food, sweets, gifts and surprises! The lighting of the last Chanukah candle was conducted by Rabbi Mendel Goetzel along with his young son Yosale. Each child came out of the synagogue with colorful memories of Chanukah 5783!
The Chabad Lubavitch Jewish community in Moldova expresses special thanks to everyone who has done the unthinkable, to everyone who has initiated, organized and held Chanukah events throughout the country during this festive week. We were able to light not only the Chanukah lights, but also the hearts of all the guests who attended and shared the joy of the holiday with us. In almost every city in Moldova where there are Jews, a menorah was lit and celebrated with the honor of a beautiful holiday of the triumph of good over evil.