December 21, 2003
By JENNY HAZAN
Leaders of non-governmental organizations gathered to kindle the Hannuka lights at Beit Shalom in the posh Jerusalem neighborhood of Talbiyeh on Sunday night, joining the heads of Keren Hayesod in celebrating the third night of the festival.
Keren Hayesod World chairman Avi Pazner, director-general Gad Ben-Ari, and former speaker of the Knesset Shlomo Hillel were honored to light the Hanukkia, after which guests sung a hearty round of Hanukka songs.
"It's the first time that we are inviting heads of non-profit organizations, NGOs, various foundations, and people from the government departments, both in Jerusalem and out of Jerusalem, for a Hanukka candle lighting and we hope to establish a tradition of it," said Ben-Ari.
The Jewish Agency's Contact Center conducted a video-conference linking up Israeli students to their Jewish counterparts in London, Miami, and New York City. Thirty high school students made the most of video-conferencing equipment set up in the tunnels beneath the Western Wall to share their Hanukkia lighting with their peers abroad.
"The overall purpose of the video-conference is to get students from abroad engaged with Israel," said Contact Center manager Eitan Eliram. "Also, when Israeli kids connect with Diaspora communities, they realize that they are part of a larger Jewish family."
In other Jewish Agency news, the third candle was lit in Caracas, Venezuela, one of eight Diaspora communities to participate in the "Hanukka Candle Lighting around the World" project broadcast on Army Radio.
Monday night, the broadcast will come from Istanbul and will be followed on the fifth night by the Jewish community of Moscow, then Columbus, Ohio, then Slavonic, Greece, and wind up on the eighth night in Kiev.
© 1995-2003, The Jerusalem Post - All rights reserved