Condensed from a report by Judith Strasser, KKL-JNF delegate to COP15
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
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..."
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!
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
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.
forests and woodlands are at the forefront of combating desertification
and improving the carbon balance in the environment.
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.
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.
Efi Stenzler, KKL-JNF World Chairman
For more information, please visit our website at www.kkl.org.il/eng or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org