Illuminating Hope: Hanukkah’s Sixth Light Kindled for Children Affected by Terrorism

In a heartwarming display of resilience and solidarity, 80 children from Israel’s southern settlements and the Gaza Envelope had the unique opportunity to kindle the sixth candle of Hanukkah at a special camp. This camp, a beacon of hope and joy, is operated by the Fund for Victims of Terror of the Jewish Agency, with support from Keren Hayesod.

For 13 years, this summer camp has been a haven of happiness, spanning 21 days annually during major Jewish holidays. It offers a variety of engaging activities, including juggling, circus performances, makeup sessions, painting, and therapeutic dog training. This year, the camp welcomed not only children from families of terror victims but also those from families displaced by the tragic events of October 7.

Among the participants were children like nine-year-old Adel from Ashkelon and eleven-year-old Omri from Kibbutz Nirim, whose personal stories highlight the profound impact of terrorism on young lives. The camp serves as a much-needed respite for these children, offering them a chance to reconnect with joy and normalcy.

Unfortunately, not all children could attend due to anxiety and fear of leaving their safe spaces. Recognizing this, the Fund ensured that holiday packages were sent to those who couldn’t make it, extending their care and support beyond the camp’s physical boundaries.

The Fund for Victims of Terror has been a pillar of support for families affected by terrorism for two decades. It offers immediate emergency grants and aids in the long-term rehabilitation process, funded by the generous contributions of the Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod, the Spirit of Israel, and other global and local donors.

Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin, Chairman of the Fund, emphasizes the unique needs of these children who have experienced terrorism firsthand. The camp not only offers fun activities but also provides a vital emotional and psychological support network. This year, more than ever, the Fund’s work has been critical in bringing a glimmer of hope to families torn apart by the horrific Hamas attack.

Edna Weinstock-Gabay, CEO of Keren Hayesod, reflects on the importance of supporting these young lives, acknowledging the weight of responsibility to help Israeli society, especially the residents of the south and north. Her words resonate with the core values of the State of Israel – compassion, resilience, and the unyielding spirit of community.

As these children lit the Hanukkah candles, their shining eyes were a testament to the indomitable spirit of Israel. Amidst adversity, the nation stands united, offering a hand of support and a message of hope. The State of Israel, built on the foundations of courage and compassion, continues to demonstrate its commitment to its people, ensuring that even in the darkest times, the light of hope and unity burns bright.