It’s already Chanukah 2019 in Tel Aviv! Every artisan patisserie in the city has a mountain of dressed donuts on display, each looking more delicious and calorific than the next! As usual, we are spoilt for choice, and although these look scrumptious and are certainly delightful on the palate they are fatal for the figure! This Chanukah, I think I’ll pass on the designer “sufganiyot” and instead munch my way through a couple of equally satisfying jammy donuts. I may need a detox holiday if I end up looking like a sweet doughnut myself!
There is no limit to the festive preparations. As I meander down the store-lined streets, Chanukah 2019 in Tel Aviv has come alive with a pyramid of holiday paraphernalia. In addition to the delicious donuts, there is an abundance of dreidels (spinning tops) of painted wood, paper mache, and traditional filigree silver. Contemporary chanukiah or menorah (the nine-branched candelabra used during Chanukah) are boldly displayed. Designed in a variety of treated metals, glass, pottery, and wood each is an artful reminder of the importance of the festival of light! All to ensure that your Chanukah burns truly bright! significant light!
We are proudly blue & white, but this Chanukah 2019 in Tel Aviv is full of celebratory colors! We warmly welcome in this festival with sweetness and style both here in Israel and, with the Jewish nation across the globe.
Aside from the other festive gourmet delights, such as crispy fried latkes (potato cakes) and candy parcels for the craving kids, what does Chanukah represent? Why is it each year we light the eight candles on the Chanukia? All these rituals for Chanukah, are to commemorate our devotion and re-commitment to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. It is not only a festive period but a time that we remember the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire. It is the time we thankfully recall the triumph of light over darkness.
At the time of the 2nd Temple, the ruling Greek dynasty accepted the Jewish Torah as a book of wisdom. Unfortunately, they refused to acknowledge it’s significance to the actual Jewish faith. The Greeks decreed that learning the Torah was forbidden and seized all Jewish property and possessions. A further abuse of their power and disrespect for the Jews was to place idols of worship at the Holy Temple (Beit HaMikdash). The Jewish people without homes or hope were afraid to stand up against this tyranny. However, one brave man Mattityahu and his sons, the Maccabees were not. Against all odds, the Maccabees fought back and drove the cruel oppressor from the Holy Land.
During their occupation, the Greeks had defiled the Temple and made the oil impure. Fortunately, the Maccabees uncovered one jar that had been overlooked but, which contained sufficient oil for one day only. Their unwavering faith again gave them courage, so they lit this last jar and released another miracle. The oil burned for eight days! This was cause for great happiness and with daily life restored and the Temple cleansed, the Jewish faith became even stronger.
Chanukah 2019 in Tel Aviv will be observed for eight nights and days commencing on the 25th day of Kislev in the Hebrew calendar. This coincides with the secular dates of 22th (evening of) until the evening of 30th December 2019. During this period, we are constantly reminded of the miracles of Chanukah. Cafes, restaurants, stores and shopping malls decorate their establishments in tribute to the festival. We are encouraged to recall the small band of heroic Jews against the great Greek army and the one jar of simple oil lasting for eight days. We remember that it is because of these extraordinary events we celebrate our freedom from the darkness to the light.
The Jewish people, honor Chanukah by kindling the lights (candles) of the Chanukia, one for each evening throughout the holiday until we reach the final night. Each of the eight candles is lit with the ninth, known as the ‘Shamash’ (he who attends) and is placed either in the center of the menorah or in a distinct location to separate it from the rest. Then we do what we’re really great at, we eat, we drink, we sing, we party and play with dreidels!
Happy Chanukah 2019 and may the Festival of Lights be with you!