Slain Israelis Commemorated at Main Line Candlelighting

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Adath Israel hosted a Chanukah candlelighting Wednesday night that also marked a commemoration of those killed during last month's terrorist raid on a synagogue in Israel.

Some 150 synagogue and community members congregated on the front lawn of Adath Israel of Merion Station on Wednesday night in a joint observance that was, in a bittersweet reflection of Jewish tradition, laden with happiness and tears.

“Chanukah: Rededicating Ourselves to the Fight Against Terror” was a tearful tribute to the four rabbis — Avraham Shmuel Goldberg, Aryeh Kupinsky, Kalman Ze’ev Levine and Moshe Twersky — as well as police officer Zidan Saif, who were all murdered last month during a terrorist raid on Kehillat B’nai Torah in Har Nof, Israel.


The memorial was held in conjunction with the second night of Chanukah, marking the shloshim — the 30th day from burial — of the rabbis and policeman.

“It emotionally made sense” to hold the tribute at Chanukah, said Rabbi Eric Yanoff, the religious leader of the Conservative temple. “It was a way to show solidarity with Israel under a Jewish rubric of mourning and memory.”

Bringing the joy of Chanukah into what otherwise was a grim reminder of Israel’s precarious state of being in the Mideast was a way of heralding the future, reflecting the Jewish state’s own way of dealing with tragedies, added Yanoff.

“Our community made the transition like Israel did, making a resolute decision to address sadness and then move forward,” he said.

A number of local organizations co-sponsored the observance along with the synagogue: the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, the Anti-Defamation League, American Jewish Committee, the Consulate General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region, Friends of Israel Defense Forces, Philadelphia I-CARE, Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, Jerusalem U., Jewish National Fund, Maccabi USA, StandWith Us and the Zionist Organization of America.

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