Hanukkah in Odessa
Hanukkah in Odessa this year has managed to prove its second name - “Festival of Lights” - once again. An array of activities – from presentations and concerts up to big communal events – has swirled hundreds of community members during the dates of the holiday – December 4-12, and is even planned to do so afterwards till almost end of the year, for so many gatherings and parties are offered within the framework of Hanukkah celebration. Just as Hanukkah lights are lit every day throughout the week in thousands of homes, numerous lights were lit in the hearts of Odessans during the celebrations they organized or took part in.
The busiest holiday day – Sunday of December 9 – could boast of a number of events under the roofs of different organizations, but gathered the biggest group of Odessa Jews in a family-style celebration in the future Jewish Campus on Nezhinskaya Street – “Beit Grand” building.
The event was coordinated by Migdal JCC and encompassed two major elements – a Fire Party with a concert program and a photo exhibition of works focused on light and fire, by the JCC members. Instead of 205 seats available in the hall, 250 tickets were sold out as the amount of guests willing to come was enormous.
Before the concert started all the guests were welcome to join the buffet table with traditional latkes, sufganiyot and soft drinks (catered by one of the two Kosher restaurants in Odessa). Most of the guests tried to follow the dress-code of the Fire Party – to wear fiery colors of red, orange, gold and bright yellow. During the concert various vocal, dance and humor performances were presented to the audience, among whom there were also guests from Simferopol – the central Jewish community in the Crimea, and an old friend of Migdal.
The guests also shared their humorous skits, jokes and songs and got a standing ovation from the event participants. Besides the magnificent performance a lottery was organized and all the participants had an opportunity to win remarkable prizes – golden Hanukkiya, a computer game, or a digital camera. The lucky winners excitedly ascended to the stage for the others to greet them.