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.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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