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Israeli Light in the Darkness

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In a refreshing display of Israeli resilience, Tel Aviv’s historic Sarona Market, alongside MAVS, hosted the First Light Festival—a beacon of hope as small businesses and artisans united to spread light and solidarity amid ongoing turmoil and hardship from the war. The festival took place on December 7th to 8th, transforming the open-air Sarona Market into a haven of hope, solidarity, and light during the holiday season.

The festival, a collaborative effort of the Jewish National Fund USA’s Western Galilee Now Small Business Consortium, aimed to uplift small business owners and artisans who have borne the brunt of rocket attacks and other repercussions of regional violence. This inspiring event showcased beloved artisan confectioners and family-owned wineries from across Israel, many of whom have faced significant challenges and disruptions to their livelihoods due to the ongoing conflict.

A member of Western Galilee Now shared, “This association helps all the businesses in the Galil, and now, we are located here at the Western Galilee Now, supported by the JNF. We have a chocolate business with about 15 employees, and we’ve been facing tough times due to the war, experiencing a significant decrease in our usual workload.”

Despite the disruptions caused by the ongoing threats of violence, these resilient small business owners and artisans persevere, offering a glimpse of hope for a brighter future. The festival provided attendees with the opportunity to explore goods from partners spotlighting Western Galilee small businesses, including the beloved Tupello Gluten-Free Bakery, the renowned Lalita Parling Factory, the famed Malib House dessert shop, and award-winning boutique wineries like LM Kure and Julia.

Local community support played a crucial role in sustaining these businesses. Citizens from the village and other places in the country came together to support the event, acknowledging the challenges faced by businesses and expressing solidarity in the face of adversity.

By coming together in the spirit of compassion and cooperation, the participating businesses and organizers of the festival aimed to spread more than just commerce and awareness for small culinary artisans. They sought to kindle a flame of hope, joy, and light during a season of darkness for many impacted by the conflict.

The delicious array of artisan foods and wines served as a delightful bonus, creating an atmosphere where people could come together, enjoy, and find comfort in these challenging times. The festival, aptly named First Light, exemplifies that even amid seemingly endless darkness caused by conflict, the human connections we share and the acts of service and compassion we choose can make a significant difference. It underscores the resilience of communities and the power of unity in facing adversity.



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