Making it a Chanukah to remember
Despite many challenges, we were blessed to bring hundreds of Bnei Menashe from India to Israel this year, including 262 in October. These new olim (immigrants) celebrated their very first Chanukah in Israel in our absorption center in Goren in the north. A number of local women decided to do what they could to help make it a Chanukah to remember.
The initiative to collect new (or like-new) toys, or donations to purchase them, was publicized in both Beit Shemesh and Tekoa, as well as to the general public and the response was heartwarming.
The actual gift procurement was amazing teamwork. Shayna Levine-Hefetz, Tehila Derfler, Aliyah Derfler and her brother enjoyed shopping at the amazing Anak Stock in Kfar Etzion which, again, gave us 10% off our purchases. They carefully chose age-appropriate toys and games for each child. Aliyah took charge, bringing a notebook with everyone’s ages and genders to be sure that each child received a gift.
Devorah Barr picked up the gifts from Shayna in Neve Daniel, and brought them back to Shaina Abraham in Beit Shemesh where she collected both the donated and purchased gifts and wrapped each and every one to make them festive and enticing. Then she delivered them to our offices in Jerusalem, labeled and ready to be distributed.
At the same time, Tamar Okun, also of Neve Daniel, had gone through her collection of gently-used clothing that had been donated, and she made organized packages with size and gender clearly marked. She then delivered these items to our offices, much to the amazement of the staff at seeing how well organized it was, and easy to give out to the kids.
Finally, the items were all loaded up into vehicles and brought all the way up north to Goren, our absorption center, and distributed to very happy Bnei Menashe children.
What an amazing project that made for a truly, memorable Chanukah!