If you happen visit any of the 30 countries where there are branches of Bnei Akiva during Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, you can expect to see many Menora candles beaming from the windows of local buildings and enjoy many cultural and Jewish events.
Bnei Akiva's events emphasize strengthening Jewish identity and bringing the special Jewish spirit to the communities.
Hanukkah Caravan in Scandinavia
The four Nordic countries may be well below zero and covered with snow, but there is one group of young Israelis heating up the Jewish entertainment scene. World Bnei Akiva's Scandinavian "shlichim" delegation is on tour with the annual Hanukkah Caravan wandering Jewish musical game show.
This year's show is based on the popular "Lion King" musical, and puts a special emphasis on Jewish identity and pride.
The delegation, which will perform in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and finally Finland, is headed by Yonatan Schimmel, World Bnei Akiva and WZO's central shaliach in Scandinavia.
"The purpose of this year's show is to complete a small but substantial part of celebrating Hanukkah: Bringing the Israeli spirit, enthusiasm and the unique Jewish spark, which Bnei Akiva is known for," says Schimmel.
Lighting candels in Finland (Photo: World Bnei Akiva)
"During the 'Hanukkah Caravan' we are not only performing for children and Jewish communities, but will also sing and dance in nursing homes, for elderly Jews who have been waiting an entire year for this moment: to sing Jewish songs, light candles, and to fully connect, even for a short moment, with the Jewish people, through our Israeli shlichim. "
The Hanukkah Caravan in Scandinavia is a joint program of the Department for Religious Affairs in the Diaspora of the WZO and Bnei Akiva Scandinavia.
Educational production in Berlin
World Bnei Akiva and Lehava "shlichot" in Berlin, Nurit Goldberg and Michal Krishevsky, have decided to create an educational production that would reach as many Jewish communities as possible, spreading the light of Chanukah.
They joined two Torah Mitzion Zionist Kollel "shlichim", and together will travel from city to city performing and organizing educational activities discussing the miracle of Hanukkah.
"We decided to produce a professional and unique show, which will bring the sense of Jewish pride to as many German Jews as we can. We produced this special show without allot of resources, but with heaps of love, idealism and spirit, we're sure that we will bring a special energy that will convey the special light of Hanukkah to thousands."
Hebrew song festival in Brazil
In the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, Noa Avivi, World Bnei Akiva's emissary, has planned the first Hebrew song festival in the city. The song festival will take place at the local Jewish school; many groups will sing Israeli classic and modern songs.
The festival will take place on the seventh night of Hanukkah and will resemble the traditional historic Hebrew song festival which took place in Israel years ago.
Detroit Hanukkah activities (Photo: World Bnei Akiva)
Los Angeles will host an important guest: Deputy Prime Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon, who will visit Los Angeles as a guest of honor of the local Bnei Akiva.
Ya'alon will be the guest of honor at Bnei Akiva LA's annual 'Israeli Heroism week' which will take place throughout the city with various events. He will speak about Israeli and Jewish heroism at the main event, taking place this Tuesday at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills.
Ya'alon will also meet 1,000 Jewish teenagers from schools in LA, and will answer their questions about leadership and his service as Israel Defense Forces chief of staff. The event is organized by Shlomo Mirvis, World Bnei Akiva and Jewish Agency emissary to the West Coast.
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