YOUNGSTOWN - The Valley's Jewish community once again joined with the annual Akiva Academy celebration to commemorate Hanukkah this week at the Jewish Community Center.
A 10-foot high menorah is being display throughout the eight-day festival of lights, which began Dec. 20 and concludes Wednesday.
The free program featured a presentation by the Oksana and Chami Zemach family, who are in the Mahoning Valley as part of a yearlong world tour through 27 countries over four continents.
Abigail Scharf, 11, a sixth-grader from the Akiva Academy, serves as emcee at the Hanukkah celebration held at the Jewish Community Center.
Bonnie Deutsch Burdman, JCRC director, said the Israeli Family Project has the Zemachs and their three daughters leaving Israel last August on their global trip.
The family will be visiting churches, schools and other community organizations to tell their story and participate in various holiday season activities, Burdman said.
In 2002, the Zemachs left their urban community to move to a small, underdeveloped southern farming village in the Negev Desert. They built their home and food factory that makes products from fruits and vegetables grown in their village.
The program included musical and dramatic presentation by students of the Akiva Academy and traditional Hanukkah foods such as potato latkes (pancakes), jelly doughnuts and gelt (chocolate coins).
She said the large menorah had previously been displayed at the Eastwood Mall in Niles as part of the traditional event co-sponsored by the Children of Israel Synagogue and the Jewish Community Relations Council.