Stefan Kossoff, the development director at the British embassy in Kyiv, on the meaning of the interdenominational Hanukkah celebration and its meaning to him.
My name is Stefan Kossoff. So I would just like to say, you know, on behalf of the British government and the embassy here in Kyiv, what an honor and pleasure it was be to be here tonight to celebrate Hanukkah with the Jewish community of Kyiv. And we’ve had a very, very busy day with air alerts. But there was nothing that President Putin and his missiles and his drones could do to stop me being here to celebrate Hanukkah, with you all. I’m here representing the British government. But I also have a strong personal connection with Ukraine. I’m actually the third generation descendant of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. My grandparents were citizens of Kyiv and Odessa. And they left this country in the early 20th century, fleeing from czarist tyranny and pogroms to make a new life for themselves in the UK. But they never forgot the old country. It was always in their heart. And they spoke to me about it constantly when I was a child. And I was intrigued to come back and find out more. And now I’m here. And I feel like in some respects, I’ve come come right back to home. So this Hanukkah also has a real, real special significance because it’s at a time of war. But as with the story of Hanukkah, and the fight of the ancient Maccabees, Ukraine is engaged in a vital struggle of light against darkness, right against might, freedom against oppression. And the Hanukkah story tells us that there will be miracles along the way, like the miracle of Hanukkah, and at the end of the day, we know there will be victory. There will be liberation, and there will be light. And on that note, I say Slava Ukrainy and Hanukkah Sameach
Story Provided By: Kyiv Jewish Messianic Congregation
Producing Organization: Kyiv Jewish Messianic Congregation
Recording Location: Kyiv
People Interviewed and their Titles: Stefan Kossoff, the development director at the British embassy in Kyiv