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169 (Hanukiah | ハヌキーヤー)

December 28, 2011

We saw a Hanukiah (Hannukah menorah) being lit in a rather unexpected place last night: the secular, non-kosher, kibbutz pub. Last night was the beginning of the last day of Hannukah (Jewish holidays always begin after sundown the day before and end at sundown on the actual holiday), so all the candles were lit. The bartender asked for quiet in the bar and a staff member, while covering the top of his head with one hand (instead of wearing a kippah), lit all the candles with his other hand while saying a prayer. Then he broke in to a song, which most of the bar joined in.

This is the same pub that still had a Christmas wreath up on its front door and Christmas decorations still adoring its walls inside.

After having a week off for Hannukah, schools will start up again tomorrow. It doesn’t feel like the “end of the year” at all here, where Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year) was back in September. In my Israeli pocketbook calendar, January does not get any special treatment or first-month privileges; it is just another month.

Meanwhile, Japan is winding down. Most businesses had their last work days of the year today. New Years is such a significant holiday there, and I still can’t get used to how it just passes by like any other day here.





Much love,

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 29, 2011 8:55 pm

    Looks like a lot of fun! Hanukkah songs are so much fun to sing. We also had our place decorated for Christmas and lit a hanukiah each night, which feels really weird but doubly festive. Have you ever tried to find out why women light candles on shabbat but men are in charge of the hanukiah candles?

    • December 30, 2011 3:38 pm

      That’s great you had both Christmas decorations and a Hanukiah. More traditions, the merrier 🙂

      It’s funny that you ask about the candles because I was just asking Yuval why it was a man that lit the hanukiah candles at the pub the other night. I didn’t know it’s generally a man’s job to light the hanukiah!

  2. Yuval permalink
    December 30, 2011 8:05 pm

    Hi Katie,
    its nice to see that you also find Hanuka songs to be fun (unfortunately, K claims that I can’t sing so I am not allowed to).
    Basically, it is a obligation for every Jewish household to light Shabat candles. The custom dictate that in a family the woman will be the one lighting them, as traditionally she is in charge of the house, but single men are also required to do so.
    As for the Hanuka candles, it is not not an obligation but a MITZVA, and everybody (including children) can and should light them. However, in the case of a married woman, who is considered as one with her husband, she is considered to have lit them if he did.
    Its not not clear, but as Hanuka is to celebrate the military victory over the Greek about 2100+ years ago, I assume men took the pleasure of lighting the candles themselves (kind of a macho thing I guess).

    • December 31, 2011 1:22 am

      Thanks, Yuval! I appreciate the explanation. Every time I’ve witnessed the lighting of a hanukia, it’s been done by an adult man, almost always the head of the household, so I always assumed it was a male-only thing. I was never invited to light it, though I guess I never asked. I can’t sing either, but I think it makes my husband feel relieved to know I’m really bad at something, so he encourages me to participate 🙂

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