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Holocaust survivors mark Hanukkah amid global rise of antisemitism

December 12, 2023 | by b1og.net

holocaust-survivors-mark-hanukkah-amid-global-rise-of-antisemitism
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As Holocaust survivors from around the globe come together to celebrate the fifth day of Hanukkah, concerns over the Israel-Hamas war and the alarming rise of antisemitism loom large. This year’s celebration takes on a heightened significance, as survivors seek to honor the memory of the 6 million European Jews lost during the Holocaust. In an effort to combat the darkness of hatred, a virtual ceremony will be held, featuring a menorah lighting, musical performances, and messages of support from world leaders and celebrities. This event serves as a powerful reminder of the resilience, strength, and fortitude of Holocaust survivors, who serve as beacons of light in a world grappling with antisemitism and violence.

Holocaust survivors mark Hanukkah amid global rise of antisemitism

As the global rise of antisemitism continues to be a cause for concern, Holocaust survivors from around the globe are coming together to mark the start of the fifth day of Hanukkah with a virtual ceremony. This year’s Hanukkah celebration holds special significance as Jews worldwide worry about the Israel-Hamas war and the increasing spike in antisemitic incidents in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere.

Holocaust survivors mark Hanukkah amid global rise of antisemitism

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Virtual ceremony for survivors

Survivors of the Holocaust have the opportunity to join an online ceremony of a menorah lighting on Monday night, paying tribute to the 6 million European Jews who were killed by the Nazis during the Holocaust. This virtual gathering serves as a powerful reminder of the resilience and strength demonstrated by Holocaust survivors, even in the face of unimaginable atrocities.

In-person menorah lighting in Jerusalem

In addition to the virtual ceremony, several dozen survivors are expected to gather in person for a menorah lighting at Jerusalem’s Western Wall. This location holds deep significance for Jews, as it is considered the holiest place where they can pray. Coming together in person to light the menorah creates a sense of community and solidarity among survivors, reminding everyone of the indomitable spirit that continues to shine through.

Resilience and strength of survivors

The Holocaust survivors who are commemorating Hanukkah serve as living exemplars of the power of light overcoming darkness. These individuals, who somehow managed to overcome the horrors of concentration camps, death camps, and killing centers, provide guidance and inspiration to navigate through the darkest times. Their resilience, strength, and fortitude leave an indelible mark on the world and serve as a beacon of hope for future generations.

History and significance of Hanukkah

Hanukkah, also known as Judaism’s festival of lights, marks the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem in the 2nd century B.C. after a group of Jewish fighters called the Maccabees liberated it from occupying Syrian forces. This annual celebration holds deep religious and cultural significance, symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness and the enduring spirit of the Jewish people.

Trauma and impact of recent Israel-Hamas war

This year’s Hanukkah celebration takes place against the backdrop of the recent Israel-Hamas war, which has left many Jews feeling traumatized and fearful. The Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israel was a devastating event, resulting in the death of 1,200 people and the taking of hostages. Israel responded with a series of bombings and a ground offensive, leading to further casualties. The trauma of this conflict has left a lasting impact on the Jewish community, emphasizing the need for solidarity and support during these challenging times.

World leaders and celebrities speak out

Several world leaders and celebrities have spoken out about the recent Israel-Hamas war and the rise of antisemitism. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, in a message to Holocaust survivors, expressed his deep concern about the impact of imagery from Israel, as well as the widespread hatred faced by the Jewish community. He emphasized the need for unity and condemned the antisemitic acts occurring around the world. The support and solidarity from prominent figures send a powerful message to survivors and the wider Jewish community, reminding them that they are not alone in their struggles.

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Musical performances and celebrity guests

In addition to the meaningful speeches and messages, the virtual event features musical performances and appearances by celebrity guests. Grammy and Tony Award-winning singer Barry Manilow, along with the cast of Harmony, will showcase their talents, bringing joy and entertainment to the celebration. These performances serve as a reminder of the power of art and music to uplift spirits and unite people across cultures and backgrounds.

Leon Weintraub’s personal experience

Leon Weintraub, a Holocaust survivor from Sweden who was in Israel during the Hamas attack, shared his personal experience of the traumatic event. He vividly described waking up to sirens in Tel Aviv, which transported him back to the fear and dread he experienced during the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939. Despite the horrors he witnessed, Weintraub expressed hope that the festival of lights, Hanukkah, would bring enlightenment to people’s minds and foster a greater understanding and acceptance of Jewish people as equals.

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Importance of enlightenment and equality

Weintraub’s words highlight the importance of enlightenment and equality in today’s society. Hanukkah serves as a reminder that light can overcome darkness, not only metaphorically but also in the pursuit of justice and equality. It is a time to reflect on the atrocities of the past and ensure that such hatred and discrimination are never repeated. By celebrating Hanukkah and honoring Holocaust survivors, society can strive towards a more inclusive and accepting world for all.

Language accessibility and global viewership

The virtual Hanukkah celebration is made accessible to a global audience through captions in three languages: English, Hebrew, and Russian. This commitment to language accessibility ensures that people from diverse backgrounds can engage with the event and understand its significance. The ability to reach a global viewership highlights the universal importance of commemorating Hanukkah and standing against antisemitism, regardless of geographical location or cultural heritage.

In conclusion, as Holocaust survivors come together to mark Hanukkah, their resilience and strength shine through amidst the challenging times of the global rise of antisemitism and the recent Israel-Hamas war. This annual celebration serves as a powerful reminder of the indomitable spirit of the Jewish people and their determination to overcome adversity. With world leaders, celebrities, and a global viewership joining in solidarity, the virtual ceremony for Holocaust survivors brings people together and reinforces the importance of fighting against hatred and discrimination. As we celebrate the festival of lights, let us strive for enlightenment and equality, ensuring that the lessons of the past guide us towards a brighter and more inclusive future.

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