President Rivlin lights second Chanukah candle with Holocaust survivors

December 4, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin lit the second candle of Chanukah with Holocaust survivors from around the country.

Photo: Kobi Gideon (GPO)

The event was held together with the Centre Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel and was attended by its chairperson, Colette Avital. One of the organizations that represents Holocaust survivors is Amcha, which takes care of some 20,000 survivors through 15 centers across the country. Amcha’s Rehovot theater group took part in the event, including Sarah Weinstein who lit a torch on Holocaust and Heroes’ Remembrance Day in 2015.

“It is a great honour to welcome you here today to Beit HaNasi in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, the independent, free Jewish and democratic state and to say the blessing for new occasions together with you, in joy and with a full heart: ‘Blessed are You, Lord our God, who has granted us life, sustained us and brought us to this occasion,’” the president began his remarks. “ Chanukah, according to Jewish tradition, has both heroism and miracles, just like your own lives. Each one of you is a hero. The fact that you survived is a miracle. Your story is the story of a whole generation, which rose from disaster to rebirth, which was rescued from the depths of evil and chose life. A generation of heroism and creation. A generation that contributed to Israeli society and the State of Israel in every area of life. A generation that emerged from the depths of the abyss and created the State of Israel here in the Land of Israel – a country to be proud of!”

“The chanukiah, the eight-branched candelabrum, that we are lighting here today was found in the town of Sompolno in Poland just recently, following information that came to the ‘Shem Olam’ International Center from a Polish woman. It stood in the synagogue of the Jewish community in the town. During the Holocaust, the menorah was buried deep in the ground, and it is among the only objects left to the memory of the Jewish community of the town of Sompolno. It was a vibrant town of about 1200 Jews almost all of whom were murdered in the Chelmno death camp in February 1942. I know that you, the members of the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors and its the various organizations, are doing everything in your power on behalf of the Holocaust survivors to finally achieve a logical, appropriate and just solution to the treasures of art and culture belonging to Holocaust victims which were looted, confiscated, and sold under Nazi occupation in Germany and other countries. This chanukiah came home, but there are other art objects and works that were stolen and have not yet been returned,” he said.

Concluding his remarks, the president noted that it is the duty of the State of Israel to care for Holocaust survivors. “From this house, I want to make sure that we are doing everything possible to ensure that Holocaust survivors who live among us, and their numbers are diminishing, live in dignity and well-being. This is our moral obligation as a nation and a society.”

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