The unique project started in the month of Cheshvan. 120,000 Channukah kits were distributed amongst hundreds of European Jewish communities. The kits contained a Chanukah Menorah and enough candles to last throughout the entire Channukah at home. Kits were also sent to remote small communities far from Jewish centers so all Jews could light and publicize the miracle from their own home. The Deputy Director General of the RCE Rabbi Yosef Bainhaker orchestrated the project with expertise. Numerous enthusiastic responses from rabbis and members of the Jewish communities emphasized the necessity and how advantageous the strategy was.
Chief Rabbis of Israel, Rabbi Yitzchak Yosef and Rabbi David Lau, participated in the lighting of the candles, along with rabbis of the communities and public figures.
Rabbi Nachum Tamrin from the city of Zhitomir Ukraine, shared a moving story with the RCE describing one of the outcomes of the candle lighting:
We arrived at the Milking plant, located 30 kms from Zhitomir. The factory is run by an Israeli Jew who refuses to out on Tefillin. When we were setting up for lighting the Channukah Menorah, a Vet entered the plant and the Israeli wanted to respect the Vet and explained to him the basics about Chanukah. The doctor listened attentively. When the Israeli finished, suddenly the vet said that his mother was a Jew that escaped from Poland. We explained to him that according to Halachic rule he is also a Jew, besides his mother who lives in Kharkov. The doctor was overwhelmed with emotion. We gave him the honor of lighting the Channukah Menorah. He lit with great passion and stared for many moments at the candles contemplating about his new discovery.
The Israeli Jew stood by him and participated in his excitement. Although he continued to refuse to put on Tefillin, he convinced the Vet to perform a circumcision on himself because he now knows that he is Jewish.
Another story was told by Rabbi Elimelech Merilus, Shaliach of Bern Switzerland in the name of his brother-in-law Rabbi Arie Edelkopf, Rabbi of Montenegro: “I searched for a Jew that I heard lived in the area of Bern and found someone named Arcady Galgarin who lives in the mountains of Bern. I asked him if he is family and he answered no and besides the name is a classic Russian name. We continued talking and behold Arcady himself is a Jew. I travelled to his house on Channukah to light candles with him. As I was preparing the Channukah candles, he took an old Kippah out of his pocket. He told me that the Kippa is the only Jewish thing that he has and he has kept it with him for many years. He thought that is he is an assimilated Jew then his future is lost and he will not have any Jewish continuation in the coming generations, but then his 2 daughters went to Israel and converted to Judaism and now live a Jewish lifestyle.”
Yet another story came from Barynoa From the Shaliach Rabbi Lipa Gurwitz in Lyon: “On the last day of Channukah, we walked with all boys from Barinoa who came to help us illuminate the Lyons area, and to take a photograph of the group on the hill with the background view of the whole town. A youth saw us and asked if he could take the picture of us, and we replied affirmative. As we arranged ourselves for the picture, I asked him from where does he have acquaintance with Jews and Judaism? He answered that his family rescued Jews from the Holocaust. I continued and asked him if he has any Jews in his family? He said no, but his mother (!!) is Jewish. I explained to him that this means that he is definitely Jewish. He answered that it can’t be because his mother converted to Christianity. As soon as our boys heard this, they made him a Bar Mitzvah as they began putting Tefillin on him while singing and dancing around him. We took his phone number and parted, thinking that this was the end of a special story, but no! After Shabbat ended, we saw that he left a message that he had regret that he didn’t get enough time to discuss Judaism and his Jewish roots enough with us. We called him, and are expected to meet and talk with him.”
Rabbi Avraham Nino Dayan told a story about the candle lighting in a branch of the Hyundai company in Livorno, managed by a Jew. “It’s a very impressive and central place. We gathered the Jewish office workers, told them about the essence of Chanukah, lit the Menorah and each of the Jewish workers received a Menorah from the Rabbinical Centre of Europe to take home at light.”