Thursday, December 31, 2009

Our First Chanukah in Israel

We left the US on Sunday, December 13, the second day of Chanukah 5770, and arrived in Israel on Monday, December 14, the third day of Chanukah. Hence, we missed lighting for the third day. This made me wonder if there were some issue about traveling on Chanukah, as there is traveling during the Counting of the Omer. If there is, I am unaware of it.

In any case, it is hard to get used to seeing a "peh" ("here") instead of the traditional Galus "shin" ("there") on your dreidels. I kept seeing the peh but reading it as shin.

A Great Miracle Happened HERE

Since Israel is a Jewish state, the seasonal holiday is Chanukah, not Christmas. So, in public places you see only Chanukah celebrated, and in a very public fashion. We were in Bank Hapoalim in Mitzpe Ramon when it was candle lighting time (sunset). All business stopped in the bank while the Chanukah candles were lit, with all of the staff and customers gathering around to say "amen" to the brachos (blessings) and sing Maoz Tzur, the traditional holiday hymn, after. In our branch the honor of lighting the candles went to a customer who was a pioneer in the West Bank. Note the large semi-automatic pistol tucked into his waist band, a sight you are unlikely to see in any bank in the US.

A semi-automatic pistol is a great accompaniment to Chanukah candle lighting

Pam and I took our place behind the candles on this seventh night of Chanukah. The bank also handed out sufganiyot (fried donuts), yum.

Pam and Ira in Bank Hapoalim on the 7th nigth of Chanukah

It was great celebrating Chanukah with our family. It always amazes me how early gender behavior asserts itself in children. Here you see Yair, just 2 1/4 years old, already in the traditional male holiday pose, reading one of his Chanukah presents. He loves books, and he loves cars and trucks!

YaYa, already all-man at 2 1/4 years old

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