Oh Chanukkah, Oh Chanukkah … in Israel!

Here is a blog post on the furthest place I’ve traveled. The plane ride is noisy and crowded, but I’ve traveled there four times and I’ll do it again as soon as time and money permits.  With the earliest chanukkah ever recorded in just two weeks, I thought this would be an appropriate post for this challenge:

I’ve spent all of my chanukkahs in America. As a Jewish kid, yes, the omnipotence of Christmas can test anyone’s Jewish identity and make even those with the strongest feel a bit left out. You can totally relate to Adam Sandler‘s song. You are that only kid on the block without a Christmas tree.

As I got older, I grew to understand that, yes, Chanukkah is a minor Jewish holiday. No, it’s not even in the Torah. Yes, Jews have our major holidays  in the fall.

But, still, come December, you can’t help but feel a bit marginalized.

Except in Israel. Because there’s a whole country that is Jewish, just like you and me……

Chanukkah in Israel is the little things, like peeking into a Jerusalem apartment window to watch a mother lift her baby to see the chanukkah candles.

Chanukkah is big, as every corner on every street is decorated with Chanukkiot. No, not menorahs. A menorah is the seven-branched candelabra, and though it is the symbol of Israel, the chanukkia, the nine-branched candelabra, is for chanukkah:

Chanukkah in Israel is walking through the Western Wall Tunnels where Judah Maccabee and his army used to reclaim Jerusalem and the Temple from the Assyrian Greeks in 165 B.C.E.

Chanukkah in Israel is sufganiyot piled high in every bakery window.

Chanukkah in Israel is lighting the chanukkiah in the hotel lobbies amidst the glow of so many others:

lighting chanukkah candles by the Kotel

Chanukkah in Israel is digging in a cave thought to be used by the Maccabees, where coins have been found with an insignia of Assyrian King Antiochus on them.

exploring a cave in Tel Maresha Archeological Dig Site

Most of all, Chanukkah is filled with smiling kids:

meeting up with friends from home

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About stacylynngittleman

I have been a reporter and public relations professional for over 30 years, specializing in profile features and investigative longform writing. During my career I've profiled WWII Honor Flight Veterans, artists and musicians and have written on topics that range from environmental and gun control issues to Jewish culture. Click around on my writing samples plus read my blog on my personal life raising three kids over 27 years and three cities.

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