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F.R.E.E. Kindles Hearts Of Russian Jewry In Brooklyn

This Chanukah FREE officers, volunteers and staff touched the hearts and souls of tens of thousands of Russian Jews through its annual Chanukah Campaign.

As an integral part of FREE’s holiday awareness campaign, the FREE Publishing House published hundreds of thousands of Chanukah guides in the Russian language, explaining basic concepts and a brief history of the holiday. The guides were distributed worldwide through Chabad Houses and Jewish organizations.

At a busy street on Brighton Beach near Coney Island Avenue, FREE erected its annual public menorah with lighting and celebration each night, enabling thousands of passersby to become aware of the miracle of Chanukah.

Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, has a special significance for the Russian Jews here in America, reflected Rabbi Mayer Okunov, chairman of FREE.

“Some people remember their grandfathers putting up a menorah, but they had to lock the doors to do it,” he said. “Now, we do it publicly.”

FREE puts up a large menorah annually so that everyone in the area can see it. “When people ride by on the train or look out of their apartment windows, we want to remind them of the great miracles that happened,” he said.

“Here we can celebrate Chanukah without fear. It is a great feeling. America is a great country,” concluded Rabbi Okunov.

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