Chanukah in Odessa


chanukah-1By: Marina Moldavanskaya, Baltimore-Odessa Partnership Coordinator

Jewish people all around the world celebrate the bright holiday of Chanukah, and the Odessa Jewish community was no exception.

The first day of Chanukah was marked by a big celebration in Odessa. Crowds gathered in the two synagogues – Chabad and Litvak –  while the traditional Chanukah candles were lit. These synagogues installed a huge hanukkia (menorah) in the heart of the city near the Duke de Richelieu monument, so all the residents of Odessa could be immersed in the holiday.

The JCC Beit Grand, the Jewish home to many people in the community, organized a large number of events for each day of Chanukah: a poetry reading in a romantic and tender atmosphere, maccabia for the youth club, an Arts and Crafts Fair in which local artists sold handmade Judaica, a jazz concert, a theatrical performance and many more. In addition, this year, the JCC Beit Grand celebrated its five year anniversary with a concert, fire show, mulled wine and delicious food.

Every day of this holiday, JCC Migdal held a variety of different events, including the well-attended Chanukah Fantasy performance and film club as well as concerts for kids, featuring a 1-month-old dancer, and adults.

On November 30th, the Third International Festival of Jewish Films, organized by the JCC Migdal, began. Through support from the United States Embassy, Councils of Israel and Germany, professional Jewish films by Israeli, German, Ukrainian, British, French and US directors were screened.

chanukah-3The Israeli Cultural Center in Odessa and Odessa Hillel organized the “Life is a Miracle.” The evening’s exciting program featured the “Light Chanukah” competition, the world’s largest sevivon (dreidel) of people, traditional treats, a music performance and the closing ceremony of the Migdal Film Festival. This gathering was a good example of how the Odessa Jewish community can collaborate in order to reach great results together. Through the efforts of the organizers, hundreds of young Jews were able to spend a wonderful evening in an atmosphere of unity and miracles.

Although Chanukah ended, we always have a possibility to work wonders. The Jewish community of Odessa has already made a miracle of rebirth after times of oppression. The miracle of Chanukah continues to repeat throughout Jewish history, and Odessa is proud to be celebrating in so many exciting ways.

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