On Friday 11 December more than 120 people gathered in Sydney with the Zionist Federation of Australia’s Kangarusski group to celebrate the second night of Chanukah – a festival which celebrates light and miracles.
The Chanukah celebrations, which are organized annually by Kangarusski volunteers has become one of the most anticipated events in the community. This year’s celebrations marked the first time that the majority of the people had been able to gather due to COVID-19 restrictions, and they embraced the opportunity to celebrate given the uncertain journey on which 2020 has taken the entire Jewish and wider community.
Kangarusski is the affectionate term for the Russian-Speaking Jewish Community (RSJC), a department of the Zionist Federation of Australia. Kangarusski offers a wide range of educational, cultural and social events and activities for the RSJC including family events, holiday programs for children and young adult leadership programs. Since its inception in 2012, Kangarusski has been instrumental in encouraging a broader range of cooperation between the RSJC and the wide Jewish community, and its activities have given the next generation of the RSJC an opportunity to discover their Jewish identity and connection to Israel.
Kangarusski volunteers, in partnership with Limmud FSU, organised an amazing educational and festive program for families with children and for the young adults of the community. The engaging and diverse program included the lighting of the second Chanukah candle with blessings and the singing of traditional songs followed by a festive dinner and a stage performance of the folk Jewish play, Hanna-le and her magic dress.
Paula, a Kangarusski-Taglit alumna said, “It was overwhelming to see so many familiar faces, and welcome new faces to our event. We are looking forward to organizing more events for young adults in 2021, where we can learn about Israel and grow closer as a community.”
Anna Maylis, Kangarusski co-ordinator echoed these sentiments saying “the events of 2020 have energized our community and made us truly appreciate the opportunity to meet face-to-face, and connect our wonderful Russian-speaking Jewish community here in Sydney to Israel through meaningful and exciting programs.”
The event was held at Our Big Kitchen and was made possible with the help and support of the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs and Meriton, as well as the enormous effort and enthusiasm of Kangarusski ZFA volunteers and organisers.