Take a moment to lean back and remember whether one of the sufganiyot
you ate during Hanukkah
was served to you by a smiling Chabadnik. If you indeed recall such a situation, you must be one of the 384,615 Israeli citizens for whom Chabad's youth organization bought the holiday treat for the wholesale price of NIS 1.3 ($0.34) per unit.
A simple calculation reveals that the Hasidic movement's doughnut budget this year reached NIS 500,000 (about $132,000)!
A summation of the budget allotted for "Operation Hanukkah 2012," led by Chabad's operational wing in Israel,
reveals that the recent Festival of Light cost the organization a total NIS 1.5 million ($400,000).
Apart from the sufganiyot, which make up about one-third of that amount, the large menorahs placed by the youth organization in Israel's city centers were quite a big expense as well.
Menorah-topped cars (photo courtesy of Chabad Youth Organization in Israel)
The cost of placing a huge menorah, standing 2.5. meters (6.5 feet) high, in a public space is NIS 1,320 ($350). But Chabad members did not settle for static menorahs and also installed portable ones on 210 vehicles, costing them a total of NIS 120,000 ($31,670).
The total budget of menorahs handed out to citizens and placed in cities and on top cars was about NIS 700,000 ($184,750).
The rest of the money was spent on leaflets in Russian explaining the holiday traditions and on the operation of 2,500 volunteers across the country throughout the holiday.
Chabad's emissaries abroad did not sit idly by either and spread the light of Hanukkah as well. Apart from lighting candles in Chabad centers all over the world, the Hasidim lit menorahs with government officials at the White House, outside the Kremlin in Moscow, with the Czech prime minister and at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The Chabad Youth Organization in Israel invests many resources in efforts to bring Jews closer to Jewish tradition and operates 293 Chabad centers across the country.
Its chairman, Rabbi Yosef Yitzhak Hacohen Aharonov, says that although 'Operation Hanukkah' costs more than the rest of the organization's operations throughout the year, "as far as we are concerned, it is a blessed and high-yielding investment.
"The great benefit in spreading the light of Hanukkah and encouraging and connecting all parts of the population to tradition is worth every penny," he stresses.