Curitiba is the capital and largest city of the Brazilian state of Paraná. It is the eighth most populous city in the country, and the largest in Brazil’s South Region.
As in the past 19 years, Chabad of Curitiba organized the manufacture, packing and distribution of Chanukah candles to the approximately 850 Jewish families residing in Parana. This project counts on the sponsorship of all Jewish entities in our city and volunteers, men, women, youth and children of different backgrounds and Synagogue affiliation. It is a veritable campaign of light and unity.
Since 1986, spanning three decades our city hall has been involved in our public menorah lighting providing storage, maintenance and installment of the giant electrical menorah as well as assuring a platform, sound equipment and a tent for the public menorah lighting ceremony and activities.
This year the city’s mayor Gustavo Fruet, a close friend of Chabad, who has been participating in the ceremonies at the square, was presented with a special plaque in recognition of his support to the Jewish community during his administration which is now ending.
Despite the fact that here in Brazil we are in the heat of the summer vacation, the square, 29 of March, was filled with people of all ages to accompany the lighting of the fourth Chanukah candle, on Tuesday evening, Dec, 27th. While awaiting sundown many had the opportunity to don Tefilin with Rabbis Mendel Labkowski and Stolik. Joyce Krispin was master of ceremony, delivering a short message of Chanukah and welcoming dignitaries and important community members. Rabbi Dubrawsky spoke about the relevancy of the heroic struggle of the Maccabees to maintain the light and sanctity of Jerusalem to our current events today and encouraged all the participants to brighten their homes and lives and our world with the lighting of their menorah each night. The beautiful Hanerot Halalu melody was sung and accompanied by all while holding lit candles.
Friends of Chabad, Marcos and Rosana Slud, offered two drones as prizes for a raffle for those who sent in their photograph with their menorah kindled. Children made dreidels out of clay and assembled creative menorot with Lego. Everyone enjoyed hot latkes, sweet doughnuts and cold drinks which were provided and distributed by Kitov, our Kosher kitchen.
One of the candles was lit by holocaust survivor, Naftali Steinberg who is a regular member of the Chabad Shule and was recently honored by Chabad with a special kidush and a mega Tefillin ceremony for his 94th birthday. Born in Sosnowiec Poland on the 10th of Kislev, in 1922, Naftali endured various forced labor and concentration camps, his last station being Buchenwald.
Mr. Steinberg is a dear member of our community, beloved by all, upon whom he showers warm blessings. His personal vengeance for having lost so many beloved members of his family and community of his youth is having the Divine grace of years and health to see Judaism growing and flourishing, young people coming to Shule, practicing mitsvot and establishing new homes. He was recently responsible for bringing a young Jewish man back to Synagogue and to the mitzvah of tefilin.
Florianópolis, the capital of southern Brazil’s Santa Catarina state, famous for its beaches, attracts many Israeli young tourists and is visited a few times a year by Rabbi Mendel Labkowski of Chabad of Curitiba.
302.1 km from Curitiba, the trip can vary by car between 4-6 hours depending on traffic. As usual Rabbi Mendi was there once again this year celebrating with tens of young Israelis who enthusiastically lit the Chanukah menoras and enjoyed falafel and latkes.
Rabbi Mendy and Tzivi Stolik hosted a Chanukah party with Sushi in their home for young couples and students.
Culminating the academic year, students (ages 3-11) of Ganenu and Clubinho of Beit Chabad made a presentation entitled “Voices of yesterday, today and tomorrow” highlighting some of our important daily tefilot. Through narration, song, dance and theater they portrayed some unique features of prayer in general and their particular feelings of gratefulness to G-d, eliciting admiration and applause from family members and friends in the audience.