IDF orphans light Hanukkah candles
IDF orphans light Hanukkah candlesIDFWO

A touching Hanukkah miracle occurred in southern Israel on Wednesday evening, when Jewish teenagers from New York and Munich lit candles and sang in unison with 150 IDF orphans. 

IDF orphans are often the only children in their schools or communities to have lost a parent, making it difficult for them to relate to their peers.


The online video conference was initiated by the IDF Widows and Orphans (IDFWO) Organization as part of their ongoing OTZMA Hanukkah camp.

The Israeli youth were empowered by their American peers at SAR High-School in Riverdale New York, whose acapella group treated them to a rendition of some Hanukkah favorites.

Messages of hope and support were also in abundance from Munich, where Jewish youth gathered around their webcam to show their solidarity with their new Israeli friends.

The IDFWO Hanukkah camp is one of four annual retreats that cater specifically to IDF orphans. Activities at the camp include hiking, swimming, rappelling, barbecues and parties, in addition to coming together to share stories and begin the path to healing after losing a parent who paid the ultimate price defending the State of Israel. The camp is highly subsidized by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ). 

“It was incredibly emotional to see Jewish youth from two other continents join us live to celebrate Hanukkah together," Shlomi Nahumson, Youth Director at IDFWO, stated. "It just goes to show that the people of Israel are one, no matter where they reside in the world."

"The IDF orphans felt a warm embrace from abroad and a public demonstration that they are not alone," he added. “We hope to make this an annual tradition and I’d like to send out an open invitation to other schools and youth groups worldwide to join us and empower those left behind."