Friday, December 15, 2006


Well, there is something symbolically appropriate in the proximity between the Iranian Conference for the Denial of the Holocaust and the beginning of Hanuka חנוכה .

Hanuka is a Jewish, non-Biblical holiday which commemorates the victory of Jewish warriors against the evil king of Syria, who had connived to wipe out Jewish culture and religion from the small country of Judea, in the second century BCE.

The idea of evil tidings concerning the Hebrew people in their homeland is part of the national psyche. Moses chose to lead his liberated Hebrew brethern to a territory which is right on the crossroad between continents and cultures. The Jewish people whose religion and ethos evolved in that territory, learned to live with the reality of that precarious existence, always negotiating among greater powers and scoring small victories that allow them to live to see yet another century. By the skin of their teeth. Maybe this resignation accounts as to why, when I speak to my friends and family in Israel, they never even mention the new menace that's brewing in the north in some medieval people's apocalyptic minds. Instead, they want to know whether I could get Hanuka candles this year.

It is customary to eat potato pancakes (latkes) and Sufganiot (jelly doughnuts, Israeli-style). I usually make my own version of these delicacies, using Panetone dough with some rum and raisins included. I've never tasted my sufganiot, mindful of my waistline. but I've been told by those who ate them that they were very good indeed. I think it's the rum. I use dark Jamaican rum. By the time I'm done with the sufganiot, I can no longer stand the smell of frying in my kitchen. So I make potatoe latke-shaped patties and cook them in the oven.

So we lit the first candle this evening. And we placed the lit hannukia in the window.


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