It is both easy and hard to write this post every year.
Finding something new?
That is easy.
Look up and see a lit hanukia, Hanukkah menorah,
in a new and unusual location.
This year there were flags
flying high above the hanukia outside Beit Hanasi,
the Israeli President’s Residence.
US flags were hung along with the hanukia street decorations,
ready for the visit of US Vice-President Pence.
The visit was postponed until next month,
and those extra flags were removed.
Dozens of these blue signs remained.
Plus, there is a full-size bus covered with this message,
but I’m sorry, it went by so fast I missed the photo.
Trump’s speech on Jerusalem was a distraction for some,
but for most, the eight days of Hanukkah
involved lighting a personal hanukia at home.
On the last night of Hanukkah,
tens of thousands arrived in the Old City
to see performers with torches on fire
and special lights at Jaffa Gate.
Spinning dreydels were a favorite new decoration.
Hundreds of tour groups worked their way slowly through
the narrow alleyways of the Old City.
A photo-op of a man sitting by his candles
or windows up above the streets,
caused the crowds to slow to a standstill.
In the Jewish Quarter, the Hurva Synagogue was lit up.
A constant flow of people came and went
to and from the Kotel,
the Western Wall Plaza, during holidays.
As every year the large hanukia,
is a photo highlight.
This was one photo I was not anticipating,
a re-enactment of the Jewish Temple priests lighting the Temple menorah.
At classic spots, it was hard to get a clear shot,
as cell phone cameras were in use by the thousands.
One wall had a projection of the Macabees in days of old.
The crowds at Mamilla Mall for lighting were impressive.
Hundreds came each night,
the recent warnings of danger did not affect enthusiasm.
Tourists from near and far gathered to celebrate
the last night of Hanukkah.
Only the warm weather seemed out of the ordinary.
These Habad vans were part of a convoy,
pulling large electric hanukiot.
Too bad I did not get a good position for a video,
they changed colors as the music blasted.
Habad has brought the lights of Hanukkah
out to main streets all around the world.
But in Jerusalem, and around Israel,
there is more than candles and oil lights.
Special suffganiot, those fried decorated donuts
filled store window displays,
and were consumed by the millions.
See that little hand reaching for one more?
For one last time until next year,