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.

10 Signs that Chanukah is Coming

It can be spelled differently in English every year,

but the Hanukkah season in Jerusalem is very consistent.

There are 10 sure signs that Hannukah is on its way.

1. The piles of sufganiot in all bakeries

begin to disappear at an astonishing rate.

2. Street decorations are up

and lit up at night.

3. Hanukkah menorahs are placed in public spaces and on roof tops.

This one is on top of the entrance to Bet Hanasi, the President’s official residence.

4. Dreydels and spinning tops of all sizes and colors

 and shapes can be are for sale everywhere.

5. Shopping mall aisles are filled with sweet treats.

6. At nursery schools adults are sitting on little chairs with their children,

as families race from one child’s holiday performance to the next.

7. Shoppers fill the malls

and go to Machane Yehuda Market, the Shuk, where…

8. Strawberries are in season

 and ready to taste.

9. Citrus fruits are at their peak color and flavor,

but more unusual tropical fruits are also offered for those special occasions.

And 10…you know Chanukah is here when,

the signs on the crowded buses change to Hanukkah Sameach.

Happy Hanukkah!

Getting Prepared

At the sound of a siren, students in Jerusalem on Tuesday

went into their schools’ bomb shelters.

The National Emergency Authority held a drill to prepare

in case of a missile attack. Our local bomb shelter was locked.

The drill was called a success, but many people hardly noticed it.

 Monday, thousands gathered at the Kotel, the Western Wall, to pray for rain,

but on Tuesday in the hot sun

was there anyone really prepared with an umbrella?

However, what was very noticeable on the Jerusalem streets,

were the preparations for Chanukah: outside private homes,

over the promenade in Mamilla Mall,

and in displays inside the mall.

Chanukiot, Chanukah menorahs were set up outside the walls of the Old City

and on street corners all around Jerusalem. 

The greengrocer  on Azza Street, 

usually a busy place before a holiday was closed for a funeral,

surprising many who wanted to prepare for Chanukah parties.

The Jerusalem streets were full of harried parents

trying to get themselves, their young children with their works of art

to and from after school parties.

Chag Urim Sameach!