Families of 9 Israeli Hostages Light Menorah with Brazilian Community

Families of hostages held in Gaza joined the Brazil community for a moving ceremony lighting the Chanukah menorah.

While on a tour around South America to meet with the media, elected officials, and dignitaries, the families of nine hostages being held in Gaza joined Chabad of Morumbi in S. Paulo, Brazil for an event marking the sixth night of Chanukah.

Hen and Mary, sister and daughter of Michel Nisembaum, a hostage with Brazilian citizenship, had met with Brazilian president Lula da Silva the day before. “After an exhausting few day advocating for their relatives release,” says Rabbi Dovid Goldberg, director of Chabad of Morumbi, “the families of the hostages just wanted to commemorate Chanukah with the Jewish community and they asked the hostages and missing families forum to make it happen.”

About three hundred people came to show their support. First the Shamosh candle was lit by children from the community in honor of the children held in captivity. The six candles were lit by distinguished members of the community and members of the hostage families in honor of their loved ones.

“At a time of such darkness, the flames of the menorah symbolize the light that comes to dispel it,” says Dr. Marcos Knobel president of the Jewish Federation of S. Paulo. “We all prayed for a true miracle and for the safety of all our brethren in the Land of Israel.”

Maurice Shnider, whose sister and brother-in-law were murdered on October 7th and whose niece Shiri Bibas, is being held captive with her husband and two babies, spoke emotionally at the event. “Inside I am sad,” he said, “but they won’t break me, they won’t break us. I lost my sister and brother-in-law but I gained the entire Jewish people as my family.”

The president of the Jewish Confederation of Brazil Dr. Claudio Lottenberg told the families “The Jewish community stands with the families of the hostages, you are not alone”. Mr Rafael Erdreich, Consul General of Israel in SP reassured the families “the state of Israel will not leave a single hostess behind; we will do everything to bring each one of them home.

Rabbi David Weitman from Chabad in S. Paulo made the blessing on the Menorah, “We light the Menorah on behalf of all the hostages, we are confident that very soon we will see miracles and kindle the Menorah together with all the hostages”.

After lighting the menorah and singing Maoz Tzur with Chazzan Zalman Tzfasman, Psalms were recited by Rabbi Yasha Dayn, and the crowd then enjoyed a lavish reception. “It felt like a hug,” says Mirella Radomysler, director the Jewish Confederation of Brazil and one of the organizers of the event.

The event was organized by the Jewish Confederation of Brazil, the Jewish Federation of S. Paulo and the Israeli embassy in Brasilia.

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