Holiday Leftovers

This year gender segregation made international headlines,

not the Hanukkah and holiday lights

nor the sights of Jerusalem.

On the last day of Hanukkah at the Great Synagogue,

hundreds of women took over and occupied the men’s section.

This women’s only gathering of prayer and performances 

 called for the unity of all the people of Israel…it did not make headlines.

Dozens of special children’s performances were held.

The thousands of chanukiot that decorated shop windows, 

 lined the sidewalks,

and eateries,

and were displayed on the tops of cars are being stored away for next year.

Traffic was a grid-lock nightmare,

with tens of thousands of international visitors in Jerusalem,

 as many gathered for weddings and various other celebrations. 

Millions of sufganiot were sold

and served over the holiday period.

 105 of the doughnuts were consumed by Elie Klein of Bet Shemesh,

as his ‘Dough for Doughnuts’  fundraising stunt inspired donations

of $14,000 from people around the world for 83 charities.

And not a crumb was leftover from my Hanukkah cookie.

It would be nice if the women’s project, “One  People”

was the headline next year.

Meanwhile, after all the days of  holiday and celebrations…

almost everyone needs a vacation.

Lights in the Square

In some Jerusalem neighborhoods, Chanukah is celebrated

  with eight nights of singing and dancing in public areas.

Following two wet and rainy evenings…for the seventh candle,

on Monday night, December 26, 2011,

the weather was perfect in Mamilla Mall.

 Men were dancing to the live music,

but everyone tried to stay clean as they ate the sufganiot.

The official Jerusalem Chanukah celebration

  ‘Or Bekikar’, ‘Light in the Square’ was held in Kikar Safra, Safra Square

 on the seventh night of Chanukah.

The program began with the lighting of the Chanukiah and blessings.

However, this festival of light had little to do with the holiday;

it was a light show with loud music.

 Traditional Chanukah characters were missing.  

Actors from the Mystorin Theatre Group circulated in the crowd,

while illuminated characters entertained from above.

Hundreds of people partied

and posed for pictures 

with the entertainers.

A female singer was the opening act on the large stage and

performers with lit torches juggled them from special small stages.

 Still more characters kept coming.

Electrical wiring strung for the evening almost caused an accident,

but audience members rushed to help and were ready 

 for the next character who was able to avoid a collision.

Lots of color and light filled Safra Square,

and DJs kept the music going during breaks in the live music.

It was especially nice to see that the event was accessible to the disabled.

The night air was getting cooler, so by the time the next performer

and the headline band came on stage,

 the glowing heaters were really appreciated by the crowd.

The audience was a mix of all ages and populations in Jerusalem.

Thousands of people were celebrating in public squares and streets

all around Jerusalem on the seventh night of Chanukah

…that was what was really happening.

More photos:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.297548310287981.68748.152997821409698&type=1