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The Jerusalem Netletter: Hanukkah 5772, December 2011

Seventh Light
Barbara Sofer

7th Night

In Jewish communities of Morocco and Tunisia, the 7th night of Hanukkah was celebrated as "Hag haBanot" the holiday of girls or daughters. It was a custom to have a women's feast, to tell stories of heroic women and for young men to give their finaces gifts. Girls and women who were fighting would traditionally reconcile. Is there anyone you are having a spat with? I hope not, but if so, tonight is a good time to make up. One heroine of the Hanukkah story is Judith, who served wine and salty cheese to General Holofernes, the invading general of Nebuchadnezer. When he fell asleep she cut off his head. A little dramatic, but hey, you have to do what you have to do.

Have a daughter or a son who has finished college who wants to improve his/her CV and explore Israel? Consider Hadassah-WUJS. We currently have 15 young adults in Jerusalem 41 in Tel Aviv on this revitalized and revitalizing program. Take Brandon Robinson, 27, from LA. He was looking for a way to build his career as an artist while experiencing life in Israel. He found the 5-month Hadassah-WUJS Jerusalem Art program and decided this was the perfect opportunity.- the chance to live in Israel and delve into his passion: film and television production. During Brandon's first trip to Israel he stumbled upon a humus shop in Tel Aviv where he received more than delicious Israeli falafel. He also met a new friend, the owner who was Darfurian refugee now living in Tel Aviv. After arriving in Israel, Brandon's first story fell through so he decided to revisit the humus shop, this time as an artist.The refugee's daily struggles and his ambition to become the owner of his own humus shop are the axis on which the script pivots. "It's harder than I thought to develop an entire feature around a personal story. You have to learn to pull out meaningful details." Brandon had enjoyed his previous visit to Israel but only after participating on the Hadassah-WUJS program did he truly begin to understand the country and its culture. The formal program of Jewish studies and Hebrew, combined with enough free time to learn and explore Israel on his own, have provided him with opportunities to grow as a Jew, a Zionist and an artist. "For instance, it's so much more interesting to learn about Hanukkah in a place where it's observed," he said. We think so, too. Remember a Jewish heroine as you light the candles tonight! Hanukkah Sameach,and Hodesh Tov. It's the first day of the Hebrew month of Tevet.

Audrey Shimron, Director, Barbara Goldstein Deputy Director Hadassah Offices in Israel and Barbara Sofer,Israel Director of Public Relation

Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America Jerusalem

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