Friday, December 18, 2009

Swirling Thoughts #96 – Our first Chanukah in Israel

That’s no building inspector taking pictures – that’s my MOM!
Just in time for Chanukah, loaded with gifts and brandishing her camera my mom arrived in Israel. A real Chanukah treat!

The school project
Each child came home with a hanukiah – some (clearly intended for display only) made with recycled cardboard, others with tiles, all of them sparkly and lovely. Becky’s was edible and lovely (see photo above).

The real hanukiah
At some point when we were living in Brooklyn, a visitor from Israel brought us a hanukiah in a glass case. We never understood the significance or purpose and it stayed in our curio cabinet until one day when I decided to clean out the curio cabinet and promptly broke it. And so we never used it – not that we even knew how to use it.

Fast forward to now. Erev Chanukah and also Erev Shabbos. Bob and I racked our brains trying to figure out the best location for our hanukiah – we live down a flight of stairs and so it’s hard to imagine how anyone passing by could see it in our window. We settled on a spot that was less than perfect but kosher, lit our candles and moved on. Bob returned from shul with the exciting revelation that all of our neighbors had displayed and lit their hanukiahs outside. Each one in a glass case!

The tiyul
Like every other holiday in Israel, when it’s not Shabbat or Yom Tov it’s a day for family tiyulim (trips). As we awaited the arrival of my mom, we traveled, caravan style, with a group of fellow olim to a place called Ancient Susya. The drive was magnificent. The view extended past the Judean hills all the way to the Dead Sea.

Ancient Susya was beautiful in its own way. Ancient stone structures, ancient caves, ancient underground passageways. At one point I returned to the car to retrieve snacks and found what seemed like a shortcut back to our group. As I struggled, pushed and half carried the carriage over the ancient rocky terrain, almost tripping on tiny little bushes of thorns, my thoughts drifted to the “Housewives of Ancient Susya”. Just the inspiration (read: laughs) I needed to forge ahead!

As I rejoined the group Rachel woke up and made some noise. Our guide was sort of excited. “She needs to nurse?” Um, yes. “Here’s a great place!” He pointed down to an ancient cave, out of which my kids had just climbed. As if this happened all the time. And so, like the housewives of Ancient Susya before me, I nursed my baby in an ancient cave.

For the record – I really did have my papers. And we recycle everything.
Remember those 2 pages of bar coded stickers I got with my very important hospital registration papers before I gave birth? The ones I was so conscientious about obtaining but then (predictably?) forgot all about on my way to the actual birth? (Pshhhhhhhh!) They came in quite handy as car entertainment (read: must distract Becky and Rose from fighting) on the drive down to Susya.

The party
It’s the kids’ first Chanukah away from their cousins. Lucky for them, their Auntie worked out a way to celebrate together across the miles. With the help of our computers we had a virtual Chanukah party – for more than 3 hours the cousins chatted, sang, giggled and played Chanukah Bingo together. My kids were interacting with their cousins in real time on a 42” screen while the cousins had my kids (on a laptop) sitting at the table with them! It was not the same as being there (read: the kids really miss their cousins) but it was really truly fun.

The gifts
1 Dudu Fisher Chanukah CD – 20 shekels
2 nights at Kibbutz Lavi – way more shekels than the Dudu Fisher CD
Chanukah in Israel with my mom – priceless!

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