Chabad’s Women’s Circle
Spreads the Light of Chanukah to Terror Victims

As Chanukah approaches, known as the “Festival of Lights,” Jewish families and individuals in Orange County and throughout the world prepare for eight days of festivity enveloped with the spirit of warmth, sharing and light.
In Israel, there are thousands of children who are victims of terror.  These children are also anticipating celebrating Chanukah, but they will celebrate while suffering serious injuries, or without mothers and fathers to light the family Menorah, make them Chanukah treats and present exciting gifts.

On Tuesday, December 13th, over 30 women from throughout the County gathered for a “Pre-Chanukah Women’s Celebration” with Chabad’s Jewish Women’s Circle.  Participants created beautiful teddy bear gifts and packaged them to be sent to children in Israel who are victims of terror.

The evening began with a lecture and workshop with Chana Burston, co-director of Chabad of Orange County.  Participants received distinctive candles, and were asked to describe the candle as if it was a person.  Candles varied in scents, materials, shapes and sizes. All agreed that each candle boasts unique characteristics of physical appearance, as well as unique “personality”.   The room was then darkened, and the candles were lit.  Only the flickering flames could be seen.  “Now what is the difference between all of the candles?” Chana asked.  All agreed that the flames were identical, and a parallel was drawn between a burning candle, and a person.

“All people are blessed with individuality, and that’s what makes us unique, like these candles,” Chana began. “But we all share an equal, common denominator – a soul deep within – which connects us to one another and gives us the status of brothers and sisters.  Our soul is like a flame.  Instead of focusing on our differences, we can focus on what we have in common,” Chana explained.  “Chanukah shares this message of unity.  There may be various ‘branches,’ but it’s all part of one menorah!  This is what we have in common with all our brothers and sisters all across the globe, and we will share that tonight with the children of Israel who are victims of terror,” Chana concluded.

The women sang a song about unity and continued the evening by creating the Chanukah gifts. 
Participants hand-made decorative and adorable clothing for fluffy teddy bears.  Each bear was packaged with dreidels (spinning tops) chocolate Chanukah coins and personal cards.  Beautifully wrapped in cellophane and ribbons, the gifts were sent to Israel to be distributed to children who are victims of terror.  Included in the packaging were photos of the event to be shown to the recipients so they can see the love that went into them!

“Although I have never participated in such a project before, the aura of the mitzvah filled me with pride… pride in Chabad in general for caring and reaching out to the children and for [Rabbi Pesach & Chana Burston] in particular for organizing this most original and creative project,” commented Samira Galler on Monroe.

 “Since we all are like brothers and sisters, I hope these gifts will bring illumination and happiness to these children for Chanukah,” says Sima Zelenko of Monroe.

The event was held at the home of Rabbi Pesach & Chana Burston in Monroe, and was sponsored in part by Gladys Wenzel, Samira Galler and Anonymous.

All enjoyed a buffet of exotic latkes (potato pancakes), delicious salads and Chanukah delicacies.  A Chanukah recipe book compiled by participants of the Jewish Women’s Circle was distributed.

For more information about Chabad’s Terror Victims Project, please visit For more information about the Jewish Women’s Circle, and to obtain a copy of the Chanukah Recipe Booklet, please call Chana at 782-2770 or write [email protected] or visit

For photos, please click here.

Women's Circle Pre Chanukah Gift to Isreal.jpg