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Ukraine Jews Mark ‘Festival of Lights’ Amid Blackouts

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War-weary Ukrainian Jews collected on Sunday for prayer and candle-lights ceremonies to kick off Hannukah, the so-named Pageant of Lights, vowing to get over blackouts brought on by persistent Russian bombardment.

In the capital’s legendary Independence Sq., known as the Maidan, worshippers huddled alongside one another for warmth around what officers claimed was the major Hannukah menorah — a 9-branched candelabrum — in Europe.

The once-a-year, 8-night time “Festival of Lights” commemorates the insurrection of Maccabee Jews versus formidable Greek-Syrian forces starting in 167 BC, an party that some believers say bundled a quantity of miracles pointing to divine providence.

The chief rabbi of Ukraine and Kyiv, Moshe Reuven Azman, instructed AFP the tale behind the wintertime festival held “precious lessons” for Ukraine in its resistance to ongoing Russian assaults.

“We mild one tiny candle, but if you light-weight it in the darkest place a small candle will press [out] a lot of darkness,” he claimed.

“I say to Ukrainian folks each and every day, we are the mild and we drive [out] a lot of darkness.”

Sunday’s celebrations arrived two times soon after Russia’s hottest wave of attacks remaining many cities without having energy and compelled tens of millions to endure sub-zero temperatures without having heating or managing water.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated late Saturday that electricity experienced been restored to pretty much six million Ukrainians, but mentioned ongoing difficulties with warmth and drinking water materials and “massive-scale outages” in quite a few locations.

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko denounced the aerial assaults in remarks on Sunday.

“The enemy wanted to leave us two days back with no mild, with no water, without having heating,” he stated, even though dismissing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that Ukraine is led by fascists and Nazis.

“It is a symbol for the Russians, because it does not make any sense for a fascist routine to set up the greatest menorah and rejoice Hannukah.”

– Menorah ‘miracles’ –

Before Russia invaded in February, Ukraine was house to about 300,000 Jews, 50,000 of them in the capital, Rabbi Azman mentioned.

To mark the commencing of Hannukah very last year, Azman welcomed hundreds of worshippers into his synagogue in the city centre.

But this year, with authorities discouraging massive gatherings amid the menace of missile assaults, he organised a humbler ceremony, lighting a menorah as 8 adult males lined up guiding him and joined him in prayer.

He explained to AFP he experienced put in time previously in the working day delivering foodstuff parcels and medication, driving close to the city in a van stocked with electricity banks and USB cables for those still without the need of energy.

The Russians “send out us ballistic rockets, so we will deliver them kabbalistic rockets”, he mentioned, in a joking reference to Kabbalah, or Jewish mysticism.

In Independence Sq., Volodymir Pankoff, a Ukrainian Jew who turned out for the menorah-lights ceremony, explained it gave him hope for a Ukrainian victory.

“The menorah reveals miracles in the past and it will exhibit miracles in the future as perfectly. I am confident that it will clearly show miracles in Ukraine,” said the 55-year-aged who has volunteered to make camouflage nets for the armed service.

“We are volunteering, the guys are at the entrance, we are praying also — and we hope that the war will complete as soon as probable.”

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