On the sixth day of the 8-day festival, photographer Nati Shohat took this image of the Dor family in the Jewish village of Bat Ayin in Judea and Samaria. For some reason her decided to include a fiddler in the picture. One of the Dor kids probably said, You know, I play the violin, and the photographer said, Sure, bring it out. So now we have two major Jewish icons competing for our attention: the menorah and the fiddle. Just as they did in the Temple. Except it was a harp, not a fiddle, and the menorah had only seven candles.
It’s the end of our second Chanukah in Israel. It was our first holiday, practically off the plane last year. A year ago, we were staying with friends in the town of Tel Mond, not far from Netanya, where we finally settled down.
What a charmed first year it has been. We’re so grateful, it’s ridiculous. Last night, on the way to our last Chanukah party of the year, in Hertzeliah, I told my wife and daughter: You know something, we haven’t watched even one Xmas commercial this year. We haven’t seen a single tree or nativity scene, or any of those things. How odd is that.
I don’t think I ever minded those expressions of goyeshe culture, I never felt the allure of the Johnsons next door decorating the tree – I grew up here, and we raised our daughter in a fairly Jewish, Lower East Side co-op community, which was more dominated by Jewish symbols than anything else.
But I’ve felt a sense of psychic comfort not being confronted with Xmas images wherever I turn this year. And walking in sandals to shul in December is a cultural advantage equivalent to making a right turn on red in LA.
It’s an Annie Hall reference. ask your elders.