In an effort to bring light to places where terrorist attacks, antisemitic incidents and natural disasters took place this year, World Bnei Akiva emissaries and members lit Hanukka candles during the holiday at several such locations throughout the world.
The candle-lighting events were documented by video and posted every day on the group’s Facebook page under the hashtag #LightUpTheDarkness.
The first site visited was the Hacarmel Kosher Restaurant in Amsterdam, where a pro-Palestinian protester smashed the store’s display windows and ripped down an Israeli flag, before being apprehended by local police.
Standing outside the restaurant, the youth movement’s emissary in Holland, Avichai Meyer, said: “I’m here to light a candle for the security and safety of the Jewish community of Amsterdam... for all those who support the Jewish nation, Israel and the ideal of Zionism... and to assert out loud and with pride, ‘The Jewish nation isn’t afraid.’”
Another visit was made to the home of one of the religious Zionist group’s members in Houston, which was ravaged by flooding during Hurricane Harvey.
Maya Wadler lit a Hanukka candle in her home, which is still undergoing extensive repairs and renovations following the devastation. “We hope and daven [pray] that this year will bring us pleasant weather and rains of blessing,” she said.
Worldwide Hanukka Project: Lighting Up Places of Darkness - Flooded Houston Home (Facebook/בני עקיבא העולמית World Bnei Akiva)
David Rogovoy, an emissary in Germany, chose to light his candle outside the Christmas market, the target of a truck-ramming attack last year that killed 12 people and wounded 56 others. This candle was lit, said David, “in honor of those who are not with us and those people who were wounded and injured in terror attacks all over the world.”
Worldwide Hanukka Project: Lighting Up Places of Darkness - Christmas Markets In Alexanderplatz, Berlin. (Facebook/בני עקיבא העולמית World Bnei Akiva)
Another candle-lighting was held in honor of Asher Elmaliach, an Israeli security guard who was severely wounded in a stabbing attack on December 10 outside Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station.
One of the videos posted on Facebook by World Bnei Akiva was taken at the entrance to the Manchester Arena in the UK, where last May, a suicide bomber carried out an attack during a concert that resulted in the deaths of 23 young people and injuries to more than 500 others.
Worldwide Hanukka Project: Lighting Up Places of Darkness - Manchester Arena (Facebook/בני עקיבא העולמית World Bnei Akiva)
“This project is meant to illustrate the concept of Hanukkah, to relate it to daily life,” Roi Abecassis, secretary general of the group, said. “Darkness is not merely a physical phenomenon, but also a symbol of something deep and spiritual, and the same is true of light. Our goal is to motivate World Bnei Akiva members and Jews around the world to utilize their inner light to illuminate any place in the world where they see darkness, because that is the only way to banish it completely from the world.”