Hanukkah 2021 Night 5: Israel

December 2021

This Hanukkah we are taking a moment to shine a light on the resilience of our community throughout this past year. Tonight, we light the 5th candle of the menorah and read how our community brought light and hope to those in Israel and overseas, and promoted Israel education. 


The Partnership2Gether program, which connects US cities with communities in Israel, is a core component of the Jewish Federation’s Israel programming. Our partnership with the Western Galilee Region of Israel created an exciting Rosh Chodesh program, led by Sammi Mazuz. During this program, participants virtually met the founder of a multicultural preschool in Israel that teaches both Arabic and Hebrew. The program transitioned into a serious discussion with Jewish and Muslim Israelis about how to repair Israel’s shared society after the city of Akko experienced riots on the streets. In a program called Nigun2Gether, University of the Incarnate Word Music Professor, Orit Eylon, led singing lessons with students in Israel over Zoom. The newest program is a movie club for discussing the latest Israeli movies. In October, the group watched Sallah Shabati and then got to meet Alon Merom, the film’s photographer, producer and director. Jason Miller-Goodman has represented San Antonio this year in the Horizons Leadership Development program. This program is part of Partnership2Gether, whose goal is to unite the global Jewish community. Jason met monthly online with young Jewish adults from the U.S., Israel, and Hungary and hopes to meet them in person later this year at a global conference. For more information on Partnership 2Gether, contact Lisa Epstein, JCRC Director, at epsteinL@jfsatx.org.


Rabbi Lax speaking to young adults as part of the “What’s Up With Israel?” series.

The Young Adult Division partnered with the Jewish Community Relations Council earlier in the summer and organized a three-part deep dive titled, “What’s up with Israel?” to help the young adult community navigate and understand the conflict and recent rise of antisemitism. The three sessions focused on the history of Israel, antisemitism and anti-Zionism, and how to have discussions with others. Each session had a specific focus and how to have constructive conversations about controversial topics.


In April, Temple Beth-El welcomed Israeli scholar, Rachel Korazim, as part of its Sunday Scholar Series, where she touched on the topic of Israeli poetry. As a freelance Jewish Education consultant, Rachel focuses on curricula centered around Israel and Holocaust Education development. In this series, Rachel guided the class in poetry that included a dialogue with G-d, messages from Auschwitz, and a women’s voice in Hebrew. Rachel’s innovative presentations were centered around some of Israel’s best writers and early pioneers of the modern 21st century. By participating in this series, our community was given a window into Israeli society and engaged with Israel’s rich history.