Chanukah: A light in the darkness

Man, if I was a Grinch last week, you don’t even want to know about this week. So annoyed! My ceiling is leaking and I’m camping in the living room. But there was one thing that made me feel better …

This is AMAZING!! I love a cappella to begin with and then bring in Queen, well, Chanukah doesn’t get better than that!

Cultural notes

As an American and Israeli, I noticed that this was a great cultural mix.

  1. Note the hard ch (Antiochus, Chanukah, Chai) but Mattathius.
  2. Israeli Chanukah treats (sufganiot – filled donuts) and American Chanukah food (latkes – potato pancakes). If Israelis make latkes in Israel they are called levivot (hearts – I don’t know why) and are never served with applesauce (I know, right?). And sour cream? Fuggedaboutit. Maybe¬†gvina levana.
  3. Sevivon as well as dreidle and gelt (Israelis don’t actually know the rules to the dreidle game; they just know there’s a top and it spins).
  4. Sevivon, sov, sov, sov, as well as a clay dreidle (you gotta know your Chanukah songs for this one).
  5. Chanukiahs, but not a menorah to be found.
  6. Aba, Ema, but Bubbe (surprisingly not many grandmas are called bubbe here).
  7. Ah, but where was the miracle? Nes gadol haya po. It was here, not there (sham). We’re in Israel! (Even if Six13 are New York-based.)

So after singing this at the top of my lungs (many times), which hopefully bothers the neighbors whose fault it is that my ceiling is leaking, I’ve decided: Dammit all, I’m going to be a freaking light in the darkness.

Happy Chanukah Everybody!

A Cultural Interlude – Happy New Year!

It’s the New Year and I need a new day planner!

Sounds weird in September, but the Jewish New Year comes in autumn. It’s early this year, which is why it snuck up on me and I suddenly had to get a new day planner.

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The shelves were pretty empty so I feel quite lucky that I managed to find this snazzy one.

Notice anything odd?

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How about now?

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No filters. No flipping. Everything indeed goes from right to left.

Hebrew is written from right to left, so office supplies cater to the right to left flow of language.

NOTE TO LEFT-HANDED PEOPLE:¬†Come to Israel for your office supply needs! I have known left-handed Americans who stock up on notebooks when visiting Israel because it’s just so comfortable for them.

One feature of an Israeli calendar is that candle-lighting times are noted every week (20 minutes before sunset usually) and the Torah portion of the week is noted.

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The first line in bold is the Torah portion: Nitzavim. (The Torah – or the Five Books – is divided into weekly portions that are named after the first word of the reading.)

You can see on the second line Friday night candle lighting times for Jerusalem (18:21, yes that’s a 24-hour clock), then Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beersheva.

The second line is when Shabbat ends. That’s about a half an hour after sunset. Then you can get back to your regularly scheduled activities.

A LITTLE HEBREW LESSON: The days of the week are not named, they’re numbered.

Sunday = Yom Rishon (First Day) | Monday = Yom Sheni (Second Day) | etc.

But Saturday is Shabbat or the Sabbath.

A LITTLE CULTURAL LESSON: A “day” starts in the evening because when God created the world, it was evening and then it was morning, the first day …

You might also note that holidays are colored blue in this calendar. Notice anything in this picture?

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January 1. Not a holiday. That’s what it means to have Jewish rhythms of life.

This week we are starting a month of holidays to start the new Jewish year 5779. More on this in future posts.

Let me take this opportunity to say Thank You to everyone who reads this blog!

Wishing you all a Shana Tova u’Metuka!

A year of much happiness, good health,

and great success!

(Did you think we’d get away from the Chinese theme? Not likely! A short video for the New Year about not giving up. May you all be inspired this year!)