Tag Archive | Hanukkah

The Last Day of Chanuka

chanuka menora, chanuka, menora, chanuka candles, candles, lights, holiday candles, holiday lights, jewish holiday, holiday, chanuka, menoras, menora, candles in menora

The above picture, as well as those below, were taken by me, last night. 

I kept meaning to take pictures the whole week, and finally I decided that I was going to make sure that on the eighth night, the last night, with the most lights, we were going to take pictures.  And we did.  So, here are some of them.

Today is the last day of Chanuka.  Last night, we had a full menora.  It makes me kind of sad, to think that Chanuka is gone.  Don’t get me wrong – Shlomo and I did not end up doing most of the fun stuff that I thought we would.  It was mostly his fault, because of his poorly timed naps, and early candle lighting.  Or maybe that was my fault.  And Yitzchak didn’t get vacation, so we couldn’t really do anything as a family unless it was around candle lighting time or afterwards.  And, obviously, after 5:00pm is not prime time for activities with a toddler.  It is prime time for getting supper on the table, really fast, and helping said toddler relax and go to bed.

But still.  I like the lights, seeing people more relaxed, and the jelly donuts (sufganiyot).  I like seeing Chanuka menoras all over the place, and how the buses say “Happy Chanuka” (in Hebrew, of course).  I like waking up in the morning to a quiet campus, because there are no classes during Chanuka break.  And I like seeing my adoptive parents slightly more relaxed, because they have vacation,  just like everyone else.

And I can still do what I had planned.  It may not be as exciting, but it can still be done.  I can take Shlomo to my cousin’s, and see her two youngest kids, even if the four older ones are back in school.  I can take him to the mall, just to walk around and climb on the riding toys that I’m not paying to activate.  He won’t care if there are Chanuka decorations or not, just like he won’t care if I activate the electronic car or not.  I care, because I think it’s cool to be living in a Jewish country.  But he won’t care, because he doesn’t know otherwise.

So, Chanuka has gone, but we have enjoyed it.  And now it’s back to the regular schedule, with a couple of tweaks in order to ensure that Yitzchak finishes the material in time for the Rabbinate’s test in a few months.

Here are a few other pictures.  They admittedly aren’t much, but they are pretty.

chanuka menora, chanuka, menora, chanuka candles, candles, lights, holiday candles, holiday lights, jewish holiday, holiday, chanuka, menoras, menora, candles in menora

chanuka menora, chanuka, menora, chanuka candles, candles, lights, holiday candles, holiday lights, jewish holiday, holiday, chanuka, menoras, menora, candles in menora

chanuka menora, chanuka, menora, chanuka candles, candles, lights, holiday candles, holiday lights, jewish holiday, holiday, chanuka, menoras, menora, candles in menora

A View of Jerusalem At Night

This is the same view as the pictures here, except at night.  These pictures were taken two days ago, right after the first set.

Note: All of the following pictures are from my camera, not from the Internet or anyone else.  Kudos to Yitzchak for the idea and the help.

jerusalem view, apartment buildings, trees, jerusalem sunset, view of jerusalem, apartments, jerusalem, roads, streets, traffic, night, lights, streetlights, night scenery, jerusalem night, israel night, roads at night,

jerusalem view, apartment buildings, trees, jerusalem sunset, view of jerusalem, apartments, jerusalem, roads, streets, traffic, night, lights, streetlights, night scenery, jerusalem night, israel night, roads at night,

jerusalem view, apartment buildings, trees, jerusalem sunset, view of jerusalem, apartments, jerusalem, roads, streets, traffic, night, lights, streetlights, night scenery, jerusalem night, israel night, roads at night,

jerusalem view, apartment buildings, trees, jerusalem sunset, view of jerusalem, apartments, jerusalem, roads, streets, traffic, night, lights, streetlights, night scenery, jerusalem night, israel night, roads at night,

jerusalem view, apartment buildings, trees, jerusalem sunset, view of jerusalem, apartments, jerusalem, roads, streets, traffic, night, lights, streetlights, night scenery, jerusalem night, israel night, roads at night,

Chanuka in Israel

menorah, menora, chanuka, hannuka, festival of lights, dreidel, money, gelt, jewish holiday, chanukiya, chanuka menora, Hanukkah menorah, happy chanuka

A Chanuka menora.

Today is the first day of Chanuka (Hanuka).  Last night we lit one candle; tonight we will light two (and tomorrow is the second day).  This is because, according to Jewish law, the day begins at night.  We learn this from the Chumash (Pentateuch), when it says, “. . . and it was evening, and it was morning, the first day . . .”  (Gen. 1:5)

This is actually nice, because it means that instead of eight days off, we get eight and a half – to every holiday, we add the day before to the count of vacation.  Sometimes, it is only a half day.  But a half day of vacation is better than none, right?  However, the vacation is necessary: Chanuka candles (or any holiday candles, and most of our holidays begin with them) need to be lit just after (or before, depending on the day of the week and/or the family’s custom) sunset.  Today, that will be around 4:45 pm.  Imagine if schools weren’t off!  Pick-up would be at 3:30pm, and by the time you arrived home, you would be rushing to light the menora.  Doesn’t sound like too much holiday fun, huh?

In Israel, preparation for Chanuka starts at the beginning of the previous month.  Chanuka starts on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev.  The beginning of the previous month, is the beginning of the Hebrew month of Cheshvan, just a week or so after the end of the holiday of Sukkot.  Suddenly, on all the lamp posts, you see Chanuka menoras.  Stores put up Chanuka decorations.  Some people do give presents every night, but many, if not most, do not give children presents every night, if at all.   Bakeries start making sufganiyot (pronounced soof-gan-ee-ot), the special donuts with no hole in the middle, powdered sugar sprinkled on top, and into which is squirted jelly.  Between the beginning of Cheshvan and the end of Chanuka, about six billion (with a “b”, not an “m”) sufganiyot are made and eaten.  It is the time of year, however, that people like to take their families to visit Eilat.

Eilat is a popular tourist/vacation city, with beaches, boats, and all that come with them.  It is also sunny, and for Israelis, that is very important.  Chanuka comes at the time of year when the rain has started, it is chilly, and the sun is not out so much.  While that may be good for the country, and good for your health in many ways, Israelis don’t like it.  They – we – like sun, heat, and warm weather.  So, when most of the country is already being doused in rain (hopefully), many people use Chanuka vacation to go to Eilat.  There they may enjoy a standard vacation – or they may stay in a hostel, just enjoying the warm weather and swimming on the beach, not spending too much money.

While most people outside Israel light their menora in their windowsill, Israelis often, if not always, light it outside the house.  There are special boxes that people can buy to hang their menora outside their gate.  (We don’t have one, because we have nowhere to store it).  Many buy the box simply for the protection from the wind that it affords, and place it on a table.  But, hardly anyone lights the candles in their home.  In a way, I miss that.  It gives a kind of holiday atmosphere to the house.  On the other hand, when you walk outside, there is more of a holiday atmosphere than there would otherwise be (and more danger), because the whole street is lit up.  The other downside?  If you are using one of the menora boxes, that severely limits the kinds of menoras you can choose to light.

And of course, in the street, in the malls, on the radio, and everywhere else, there are songs, dances, get-togethers, and everything else you would expect holiday spirit to create – including comparisons between the situation then and the situation now.

Before I forget:  I invite all readers who have a question or a topic that they would like me to discuss, to speak up.  I will do my best to satisfy your curiosity; just leave a comment.