Menorah's Light Warms the Antarctic Chill

Menorah's Light Warms the Antarctic Chill

Frozen Chosen: David Wakil with his menorah


December 11, 2007

As a Jewish pilot on a four month mission to facilitate scientific research in Antarctica, David Wakil has broken many records in the past two months of his assignments. Most notably, he is the first Jew on record to celebrate Chanukah in the bleak, frozen continent.

Before Wakil departed for his mission for the Australian government two months ago,  Chabad emissary, Rabbi Levi Wolff of Sydney, Australia, presented him with a "Jewish survival Kit" that contained among other religious items, a menorah and sufficient candles to last the eight days of Chanukah.

"You can light these candles wherever you are, even on the coldest, driest and windiest continent," Wolff said. Wakil emailed Rabbi Wolff briefly after lighting the menorah this Chanukah.

"There's a lot to say and to tell," he writes, "but I do not have much time. It is hard for me to describe the feeling of the first Jew celebrating Chanukah in Antarctica. Believe me, the light of Chanukah illuminates me and my environment. I write this as tears fill my eyes. I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to Rabbi Wolff for his caring about Judaism."

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