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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
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Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



A Very Hong Kong Chanukah


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There is an inherent irony that this very free and very public expression of Jewish pride and joy occurs under the Chinese flag in Hong Kong. A debate about whether this celebration brings religion into a public sphere is noticeably absent. And, there is no public Christmas lighting to compete with.

Our very Hong Kong Chanukah is certainly a multimedia spectacle of traditional songs set to uber-modern tunes. An even broader cross-section of this diverse community than I ever knew existed is not just present but actively participates. Beneath the imposing evening shadows of the HSBC building our merry group lives in the moment of pure uninhibited joy. This is big Jewish pride in a very public way.

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A Hong Kong symphony of sounds fills the air as local laborers shout across the shul courtyard in Cantonese while tossing bamboo in a pile for the sukkah: Filipino maids chatter in Tagalog hovering over the children in their charge, the radio of the Nepalese gurkhas, the Synagogue security, crackles and jackhammers provide the background music. The thick air and humidity within the walls of the partially constructed bamboo sukkah sharply contrasts with the crisp fall air of Sukkot in the northeastern corridor of the United States, where the sukkahs of my childhood were laden with dried fruit and autumn color. Dozens of colorful miniature Chinese paper lanterns dangle from the sukkah and here replace the burnt orange and golden gourds of autumn.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/holidays/a-very-hong-kong-chanukah/2011/12/23/

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