It is hard to believe that we have lived here for six years. When we started this adventure we thought we would stay for six months, maybe a year. But as the days rolled by and one חג (holiday) followed another, the pace of the Jewish calendar seemed natural and more meaningful - סוכות (Sukkot) celebrated at the actual time of harvest, ט׳ו שבט (Tu B'Shvat - Arbor Day) celebrated when the almond trees produced their first fruit.
Last night was the נר ראשון חנוכה (first candle of Hanukkah) or as my father used to say, erschter licht. We are having a family holiday dinner on Friday when we all celebrate properly, but we couldn't let the first day go without making latkes - potato pancakes. I use the transliterated Yiddish word and not the Hebrew word לביבות (levivot) because these beauties are not Israeli. They are the food of my childhood.
It is 22℃ outside now. and even though the sun sets here between 16:30 and 17:00 it is not cold. There is no frost in the air. It is not winter. And this is the one holiday that seems out of sync with the seasons.
Hanukkah for me will always be the bright spot in an otherwise darkening world. It breaks the long stretch between the harvest and the rebirth of the world in spring. It is the festival of light and the festival of hope.
I will stick to my Ashkenazi celebration. Of course I will eat סופגניות (Jelly doughnuts fried in oil) and enjoy the pleasant weather but when Friday evening comes I will light the חנוכיה (Hanukkah Menorah) and think of my family who are very far away and of all the years we laughed together and shared the moment when the candles were lit and then placed in the window to show the world that we are proud and what we celebrate is life.