Women’s Interfaith Hannukah Celebration

On the eighth night of Hannukah, Dec. 19th, 2017, Jewish and Muslim women gathered in the home of Eliyahu and Or McLean in the northern Negev town of Netivot, launching the Abrahamic Reunion Women’s Initiative. Women arrived from East and West Jerusalem, Bnei Brak, and Tel Sheva.

After introductions, the women shared a vegan, kosher, halal traditional Hannukah meal featuring latkes. After the meal, and a teaching from the Torah about the meaning of Hannukah and comparable traditions in Islam was offered. The women then participated in a candle making workshop, using colorful natural organic beeswax led by hostess Or McLean. Each woman made one candle for each candle holder in the communal Hannukiah/Menorah. Before placing each candle, each woman present offered a blessing or intention for peace, healing, etc.

Before lighting the Hannukiah (Hannukah menorah), the women, led by Hala Bukhari and her daughter Danya, the family of the late Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari, made a group video call to Amina, Hala’s daughter who lives in Gaza City with her husband. The group blessed Amina sending a blessing of peace to her family and to the people of Gaza. It should be noted that Amina’s home in Gaza City is just a 20 minute drive, but a world away, from the McLean household in Netivot. Both sides blessed each to hear from now on only the sounds of love and peace, not the frightening thunderous noise of the recent explosions on both sides of the border.

Then the Hannukiah was lit, eight candles and the additional central ‘shamash’, one for each women present, in a festive atmosphere with communal singing. The light chased away the darkness.

Thanks to hostess Or McLean, along with Abrahamic Reunion board members Sana Albaz and Rebecca Abrahamson for organizing.