Khai Fest

Khai Fest 2020 - Digital Edition

Sometimes it is during the time of an adversity that an opportunity comes knocking at our door. One such opportunity came to us, in the form of this year’s Khai Fest 2020 – Digital Edition.”

The KhaiFest is a community event organised by the members of the Jewish Youth Pioneers (JYP) and the JDC each year in December. It aims at bringing people of all ages together during the festival of Hannukah and providing them with a platform to showcase their talents. With no possibility of hiring an auditorium or having any form of personal gathering, this year we hosted our 24th Khai Fest completely online on the 13th of December.

Every living room turned into a little stage and every wall a beautiful backdrop as community members of all ages with both hands grabbed this chance to express themselves and bring out the beauty of their talents. And as they performed, we had audiences pouring-in in great numbers from all around the world including Israel, Canada, USA, Germany, Latvia, Kuwait and Malaysia, making it a truly international event! Beautifully choreographed moved and melodious voices blended in with colour, emotion, passion and even romance, our phenomenal performers brought our screens to life! And to join our two very lovely hosts, we also had with us the gorgeous Elena, our virtual host created using AI. As a local Chazan sang the Hanukkah blessings in our traditional Indian tune the audience lit their Hanukkiot together. Although online, yet a communal lighting, reinforcing in our minds the power of persistence and faith. 

Back in history it was in the year 167 BC, during the rule of Antiochus that our Jewish practices were outlawed and our holy temple defiled, due to which our people were unable to pray in the house of the Lord, but they persisted and continued to pray and study the Torah.

And this year as the COVID-19 took over our world, locked us in our home and shut down the paths to our synagogues, once again our people have persisted and continued to observe every Shabbat, every Chag and now even the Khai Fest.

The members of the Jewish Youth Pioneers (Local young adult group) have kept alive the legacy of the Khai Fest, our very own Bene Israeli Jewish tradition that it has now become! And with more than 400 people joining in, this has been our biggest JDC India online event of the year!

A big thank you to to our major partner ORT India and all our donors and well-wishers who even during these tormenting times have come forward to support our community. This year 50% will be donated towards the Emergency medical Fund and the Bayiti (JDC supported home for the elderly). The other half will be used to support various JYP activities that helps train and empower the young Jews of India.

Rabbi Yakov Yosef a student of the Baal Shem Tov after complex calculations once determined that “the night of the Hanukkah victory and the re-lighting of the Menorah was precisely the longest night of the year. This deepest darkness set the stage for the greatest possible revelation of light.” May the darkness that we have witnessed this year set the stage for a better, brighter and a happier new year for us all! Chag Sameach!!

Maayan Shahpurkar

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