Fourth Hanuka Candle-Lighting Event KKL-Denmark in Copenhage

Although originally, only about 50 or 60 guests were expected, there was finally a turnout of over a hundred at the fourth Hanuka candle-lighting reception, which actually represented the maximum capacity of the hall and a warm

By JUDITH STRASSER- KKL
January 11, 2010 17:38

 
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Condensed from a report by Judith Strasser, KKL-JNF delegate to COP15



Although originally, only about 50 or 60 guests were expected, there was finally a turnout of over a hundred at the fourth Hanuka candle-lighting reception, which actually represented the maximum capacity of the hall and a warm, enthusiastic gathering. The majority of the guests were Friends of KKL-Denmark, several of whom were already familiar to the KKL-JNF delegation from their previous visits to Israel, together with members of the official Israeli delegation and the Israeli NGO-delegation to COP 15. In addition, everyone was delighted to welcome as particular guests, members of the board of JNF Florida who had heard about the event, especially Mary Ellen Hogan and her colleagues in the official delegation of the US-State of Florida to COP 15.
Mr. Max Federmann, the much appreciated president of KKL-Sweden, was also part of the KKL-JNF NGO delegation and came especially to attend the joyful Hanuka event.



The joyful evening, the fourth candle-lighting of Hanuka, opened with an informal reception, in the Jewish Community Center in downtown Copenhagen. The amazing voice of the cantor of the synagogue, Oren Atzmor heralded the lighting of the 4th Hanuka candle followed by the loud, happy communal singing of traditional and popular Hanuka songs.



The evening continued with formal and informal speeches. Ulf Haxen, president of KKL-Denmark, the emcee of the evening, welcomed the guests and read greetings from Efi Stenzler, KKL-JNF World-Chairman (below).



Israel's Ambassador in Denmark, H.E. Arthur Avnon praised KKL-JNF, its achievements, activities and untiring work for Israel, in turning Israel into a green country and a wonderful place for all those who live there. He referred especially to the KKL-JNF planted forests in Lahav, making the desert green and combating the desertification. He also shared some fascinating family memories, remembering his father who did not want to move to the south of Israel with his family - a south that then was a dry and barren desert - as opposed to his uncles who did and came to Beersheba. He described the amazing changes of today. "Look at what can be done and what KKL-JNF has in fact done..."



Avi Dickstein, KKL-JNF executive director of the Resources and Development Division, referred to the connection between KKL-JNF's projects and their numerous daily activities over all these years since its foundation and the immediate topics of COP 15. He graciously introduced our experts in fields of afforestation and advanced land management practices Yitzhak Moshe & David Brand. He described the extent of our activity at COP 15, the information at KKL-JNF booth, the fascination lecture by Yitzhak Moshe and participation in the side-event of the official delegation; the various sessions and the responsibility of our organization in particular vis-à-vis these topics. He stressed the importance of constantly keeping our vision before us, holding onto the dream and striving to turn this dream into reality - a great quality, said Dickstein, of KKL-JNF in general and of all the people in this room in particular, everyone here being a visionary in his own right. He thanked KKL-Denmark for all their hard work in preparation of COP 15 and during COP 15, particularly Ulf Haxen, president, Miriam Shekter, vice president, and Elisabeth Fuchs, board member, and presented them, on behalf of KKL-JNF Israel, with a small gift of our appreciation. In addition, Avi Dickstein thanked Moritz Schwarz, who had been president of KKL-Denmark for 15 years, to date still a member of the board, who was also amongst the happy guests.





Former chief-rabbi of Denmark, Rabbi Bent Melchior, (today known too, as father of Israel's MK Michael Melchior) was honored by Avi with a tree-planting certificate of a garden of one hundred trees, on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Rabbi Melchior was visibly moved, saying he was very honored and then continuing with several amusing anecdotes from his childhood when as a boy, collecting money in the KKL-JNF Blue-Box to make our dream of a Jewish homeland come true. He described how one of his grandsons in Israel is being educated with the same values of his grandfather -including the Blue-Box. He also recalled how, when fighting in one of our wars, he wondered how a nation could go to war over a land so dry, barren and deserted and concluded, but of course it is all worthwhile. May "Am Yisrael" the people of Israel live on forever in their own land, the land of our forefathers, our Land.



The guests spontaneously joined in some more communal singing again accompanied on the piano by cantor Oren Atzmor and enjoyed a beautiful musical interlude performed by Ludmilla Spektor, Larisa Panitch and Vera Panitch, an amazing performance by grandmother, mother and daughter, on piano and two violins.



Of course, there was some great food including the traditional Hanuka specialties, latkes and sufganiyot, beside the Scandinavian classics such as salmon sandwiches after which delicious buffet, Dr. Orr Karassin, the KKL-JNF board member and head of the KKL-JNF-Israel delegation to COP 15, spoke of her very own and personal legacy as granddaughter of the late Yosef Tamir "Mr. Environment" and her very ecologically-minded and "Green" upbringing. She emphasized the importance of COP 15 in "sealing the deal" and quoted - on this festive Hanuka occasion - several relevant ecological miracles. The "kad katan" little sealed jar of oil found amongst the desecration and destruction of the temple, sufficient for one day only which lasted for eight days, was, of course, nothing less than a great miracle, and in addition, particularly relevant economically, reducing pollution and emissions!



Dalia Faitelson, famous singer and composer, gave us some more music, singing some of her own compositions connecting various styles of classic guitar, ethnic melodies in her jazzy voice, in a rare synergy with the audience clapping along. Finally the guests stood for Hatikva, always moving and exciting, and a great evening came to an unforgettable end.








KKL-JNF World Chairman Letter to the Hanuka Reception at Copenhagen



Dear Friends,



On behalf of KKL-JNF Israel I would like to send you my warmest greetings and best wishes from Jerusalem and express my appreciation to all participants in this year's Hanuka Reception and traditional Candle-Lighting of KKL-Denmark. According to the Jewish religious and traditional sources, Hanuka is in fact, a mid-winter holy day that marks the days becoming longer. During this period, levels of optimism begin rising as the world gradually fills with more light every day.



This year's Hanuka event is particularly special giving us all another reason for optimism, with COP 15 taking place right now in Copenhagen, in the course of which leading experts from all over the world have come together at the UN Climate Change Conference in an attempt to find solutions to global warming. KKL-JNF is participating both as a member of the official delegation of the State of Israel and as independent observer-NGO largely thanks to the untiring effort and hard work of our local office in Denmark, lead by the president, Ulf Haxen, and his wonderful team.



As most of you probably know, KKL-JNF is the largest Green organization in Israel and amongst the oldest ecological organizations in the world, founded in 1901.



•Over the years, KKL-JNF has planted more than 240 million trees over an area exceeding 100,000 hectares.
•Our forests and woodlands are at the forefront of combating desertification and improving the carbon balance in the environment.
•We are pioneers in advanced land and water management practices, preventing environmental pollution, reducing demands for freshwater resources and in research and monitoring in all these fields.
•Al Gor has mentioned KKL-JNF in his book as the first organization which uses tree planting to combat global warming.



Together, with the help of our friends and supporters worldwide, particularly our wonderful friends in Denmark, we can contribute our share - and that a large share - to the global effort in these fields.



Together, we can! Like the Hanuka candles, each one is a small light in itself but together we shine brightly and strongly.



I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all, the KKL-JNF delegation head from Israel, Dr. Orr Karassin and dear delegation members, respected KKL-JNF Denmark board and management members, esteemed guests and Friends from around the world, for your contribution and ongoing support in our efforts, for KKL-JNF, for Israel and for the World.



Yours sincerely,



Efi Stenzler, KKL-JNF World Chairman



For more information, please visit our website at www.kkl.org.il/eng or e-mail ahuvab@kkl.org.il



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