‘Bright light’: Start of Hanukkah two months after Israel-Hamas war, commemoration for two victims of Oct. 7 Hamas attack

"He was a bright light and that’s what Hanukkah is about," says Raquel Look, mother of Montrealer Alexandre Look, killed on Oct. 7 during the Hamas attack. Exactly two months later, she begins Hanukkah without him. Alyssia Rubertucci reports.

A more somber start to Hanukkah this year for members of Montreal’s Jewish community, as they came together to light menorahs, exactly two months since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

At the Chabad of the Town in Côte-des-Neiges Thursday night, the families of 33-year-old Montrealer Alexandre Look and 23-year-old Tiferet Lapidot, an Israeli citizen with Canadian roots, who were among the 1,200 killed on Oct. 7, came to honour them.

“I’m going to try to always talk about my Alex and keep his memory alive and it makes perfect sense that this holiday is the two-month mark,” said Alexandre’s mother, Raquel Look.

First day of Hanukkah in Montreal as the families of two victims of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel gathered to commemorate their lives on Dec. 7. (Credit: Alyssia Rubertucci, CityNews image)

The Look and Lapidot families were invited to take part in the candle-lighting.

“I realized it was the first candle that he’s not in the world and then I looked at our messages and my last message was: ‘you’re the light in our family,'” said Raquel. “I guess every first is going to be extremely painful.”

The Lapidot family, originally from Saskatchewan and living in Israel, now visiting Montreal to express gratitude to the community they say helped them.

“She brought a bright light to every room that she entered her,” said Sarit Lapidot. “At the funeral, hundreds of friends came because they always felt her light.”

“Were going through a lot of difficult things, but we kept our light kept and kept doing the traditional things,” said Ohad Lapidot, Tiferet’s father. “I hope to get from that force and inspire to deal with this great loss.”

The families say even though two months have passed, the wounds remain unhealed.

“Behind the figures of 1200 people, there are 1200 families, friends and people that suffered and still suffering from the horrors,” said Harel Lapidot, Tiferet’s uncle.

Dozens showed up in support of the families and to mark the festival of light over the next eight days and nights.

“The unity that has been created since Oct. 7 is incredible, what people are doing for each other,” Rabbi Moshe Krasnianski. “More importantly about the coming together, realizing, the message of Hanukkah, of light dispelling darkness, this is what we are doing today.”

Traditional songs were played aloud. Music is what brought Alexandre and Tiferet to the festival where they lost their lives and it’s what brought the community together during the holiday.

The families say it will serve as a reminder of what they lost on that day two months ago.

“Doing meaningful things in his memory, which we will continue to do for his life,” said Raquel Look. “He was a bright light in the world, and that’s what Hanukkah is about.”

“For generations to come, we will never forget, and everyone will know about my Alex and Tiferet.”

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