Festival music lifts spirits, shines light on Ukraine

OMAHA, Nebraska (WOWT) – Chabad, Nebraska in Omaha turned up the lights and music for Hanukkah on Monday night.

“The best way to do that is with a little honey…a lot of excitement, happiness and joy,” said Chabad, executive director of Nebraska’s Rabbi Mendel Katzman. “Joy really divides and penetrates all barriers.”

So embracing Ukraine is the perfect gesture to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights in Omaha.

“We are in a dark tunnel. Especially for our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, there are many I know personally, but whether I know them personally or not, we are the same. Race. They are still one of us,” said Rabbi Katzman. .

In fact, the eight-day festival is also about music, which the rabbis call “the pen of the heart.”

“In Judaism, music has always been front and center,” he said. “It’s what we pray for, it’s what we celebrate, it’s what we cry and it’s what we laugh, and basically the whole cycle is really connected through music.”

At the celebration in Chabad, Omaha, the music was provided by The Tambalaika Band, a touring Ukrainian group based in Chicago and Miami.

These four men may live in America, but their hearts beat for their homeland in Ukraine. And during the Festival of Lights, music is said to soothe the heavy heart.

“It’s not just about connecting with God. Any good voice or temperament lifts people up and lifts their spirits,” said Peter Sadkin of Tumbalaika. “Hanukkah of Light is really about lifting people up for the better.”

Funds raised at Monday night’s music extravaganza will generate some of what Ukrainian families need through Chabad’s outreach program, which includes a winter generator that will last for the next few months.

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