Knesset Speaker Lights Chanukah Candles with IDF Lone Soldiers

— by Rebecca Modell

Speaker of the Knesset Yuli Edelstein participated in a special Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony for the sixth night of Hanukkah, together with several Cabinet Ministers and Members of Knesset. The ceremony was also attended by 60 Lone Soldiers, arranged by Nefesh B’Nefesh, Friends of the IDF (FIDF), Tzofim Garin Tzabar, and Ha’aguda Lema’an Hachayal (The Association for the Welfare of Soldiers).

Photo Credit: Peter Halmagyi.

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Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein said:

I’m happy and thrilled to be here to continue the tradition of lighting Chanukah candles in the Knesset. The lighting of the candles symbolizes the freedom of the people of Israel, and is especially relevant here in the Knesset because we have our own parliament, and despite all the disagreements that take place in it, we have the freedom to govern ourselves.

Five Lone Soldiers joined Edelstein as he lit the Chanukah candles. The soldiers, who are originally from Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, France, Japan, and Uruguay made Aliyah to Israel to join the IDF with the support of Nefesh B’Nefesh and the FIDF.

Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Nefesh B’Nefesh, said at the ceremony,

We are honored to have the Knesset Speaker light the Chanukah candles with these Lone Soldiers, in this symbolic salute to all those who left their families and homes in order to make Aliyah and serve the Jewish State through the Nefesh B’Nefesh/FIDF Lone Soldiers program.

Holocaust Survivor from US starts fresh in Israel at 87-years-old

Oscar Phillips arriving in Israel on Monday after making Aliyah through Nefesh B’Nefesh. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Nefesh B’Nefesh.

— by Jen Glantz

Oscar Phillips, an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor from Deerfield Beach, Florida, made his lifelong dream come true on Monday, November 12, when he finally made Aliyah to Israel through Nefesh B’Nefesh, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency and the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption.

Phillips, who was 14-years-old when the Germans invaded Poland, was sent to Auschwitz in 1944 where he then worked in sub-camps (Buna, Gleiwitz and Oranienburg) until being marched in retreat to Flossenburg, where he was liberated by the Allied forces. He emigrated to the United States in 1949 where he met his late wife and began a career as a dental technician. After his wife passed away a year ago, Phillips decided he would make Aliyah to Israel, where she is buried. Phillips has three sons and 10 grandchildren; 6 in Israel and 4 in the United States.

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“Nefesh B’Nefesh is thrilled to be able to assist Oscar in making a full-circle journey back to Israel”, said Yael Katsman, Director of Communications at Nefesh B’Nefesh. “We will help him do everything that it takes to make his absorption process successful and help him live many more years of happiness in Israel reunited with his children and family.”

About NBN: Founded in 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh in cooperation with the Israeli government and the Jewish Agency for Israel, is dedicated to revitalizing Aliyah from North America and the UK by removing or minimizing the financial, professional, logistical and social obstacles of Aliyah. The support and comprehensive social services provided by Nefesh B’Nefesh to its 33,000 newcomers, has ensured that 97% of its Olim have remained in Israel.