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Lighting an eighth candle in memory of Macedonian Jewry at HIT


תמונה ללא תיאור


On December 17th, In the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, the eighth candle of Hanukkah was lit in a moving candle-lighting ceremony in Israel and North Macedonia in memory of the Jews who perished during the Holocaust in the city of Bitola-Monstir. 7,144 menorahs were lit by young people from schools in the south to commemorate the number of Jewish Holocaust victims, with each menorah dedicated to one of the victims by his or her name. The event was initiated by the Israel Foreign Ministry and led by H.E. Dan Orian, Israel Ambassador to Macedonia, as a means to ‘illuminate’ the tragic human story of this vibrant Jewish community in greater light.


תמונה ללא תיאור

The digital ceremony was held in the presence of Northern Macedonian President Mr. Stabo Pendrovsky in Skopje and Jewish Agency Chairman Mr. Yitzhak Herzog in Jerusalem. Simultaneously on the HIT campus, President of HIT, Prof. Eduard Yakubov, took part in the candle-lighting festivities, together with our NAO social robot. Programmed by students from the Robotics Laboratory headed by Dr. Ya’akov Damatov, the robot took central stage as he passed the candle to Dr. Damatov to do the ceremonial honors.


HIT has been deeply involved in activities to memorialize the lives and times of this once flourishing Jewish community. In 2018, HIT was chosen to participate in the 75th anniversary marking the extermination of the Jews in the city of Bitola-Monstir, Macedonia. HIT's delegation, headed by HIT CEO Shmuel Goldberg, took part in the "March of Life" held in Bitola in memory of the victims, along with other official delegations from Israel, Macedonia, Germany, Bulgaria and more.


At that time, a plan was proposed for the restoration of the Jewish cemetery in the city of Bitola and the establishment of a "life park” around it. HIT’s IT Department, led by CTO Gal Steinhart, played an important role in this process by assisting in building the database of the names of 7,144 Jews from Bitola who perished in the Holocaust. The project, in its entirety, is led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in partnership with the Association for the Advancement of Relations, led by Dr. Rachel Levy Drummer, the Joyce Impact Center led by Mr. Robert Singer, and the interfaith organization “Acta Nun Verba”, where the project is led by Ms. Maya Sosha, a member of the Jewish community in Skopje.

Posted: 20/12/2020