Written by: Talia Goldberg, Community Shlicha
I am so amazed by Chanukah in the USA. I think it is amazing and hilarious, that the most minor holiday in Israel became such a giant thing in the diaspora. Chanukah sweaters, chanukah socks, chanukah tights, chanukah mittens, chanukah kitchen towels and so much more.
This is great because it is such a big contrast to the holiday in Israel, where it is the one of the only ones that we don't get out of school. The one that is represented by two things - lighting candles and insane jelly donuts that Roladin (a famous bakery in israel) makes.
Every chanukah I would always go to Jerusalem, to the Israel museum. Since Jerusalem was always rainy at that time of year, I found that the Israel museum is the best place to hide from the rain and fill my soul. I have always loved the Israel museum, especially the Impressionist section. I felt like the artists understood the moments of a rainy jerusalem. With the lights of the candles, the cars and the light rail reflecting in the rainy stone floor, I felt a special connection to Jerusalem in that moment.
Again, Chanukah at home is so different from Chanukah here. At home, Christmas happens in the shadow of Chanukah. And there's no need to make it more then it is (besides the donut thing as those are amazing). It's just time for our families to come together and sing Chanukah songs, light candles all together, play some dreidel, and keep a focus on our lives. I'm not sure which I like better, Chanukah in the USA or Chanukah in Israel.
I know the Christmas holiday is so important to so many and I think what I would like the most is letting Chanukah and Christmas take place side by side. Both holidays have their important values and traditions, so why not just let both peacefully happen.
In the meantime, enjoy your hanukkah sweaters and a ton of latkes under your Chanukah bush!