Tonight's sunset ushered in the first night of Chanukah / חנוכה and I couldn't be happier! Like I mentioned yesterday, Tuesday is Yom Chofshi / יום חופשי -- no school, no obligations, just time to get whatever done. Since I was not off to Tel Aviv , I knew had plenty to do in good old Jerusalem.
And get it done, I did. I started off at 9:30, meeting Melanie from ulpan so we could go find Yad LaKashish, the Lifeline For the Old. This Jerusalem workshop and giftshop provides daily employment for 250 elderly and disabled people, and the stuff they make is TERRIFIC. Also, learning about what they do there sometimes brings a tear to your eye. Check out the website. It's good stuff, like "Pimp My Ride," which I'll get to later.
I knew that I'd find good stuff there, and in searching for a Chanukiyah / חנוכיה (a Chanukah menorah, with 9 branches), I was not disappointed. I couldn't decide if I wanted one with candle holders shaped as pomagranates, or one with crazy, kooky characters as candle holders. I'm sure you're shocked at my decision, displayed in picture form, below.
Aren't I kooky?
I am the world's kookiest Chanukiyah! Yes I am!
After the visit, we wandered the city and ended up walking all the way to the shuk. This was all sorts of fun, because in the shuk they sell Sufganiyot (fried donuts)! For those of you who don't know, one of the miracles of Hanukah (yes, it can be spelled in many different ways) is that when the Maccabees reclaimed the Temple, they lit the menorah there, and the oil lasted for eight days. Following typical Jewish logic, oil lasting -> oil -> oily food -> fried things -> eat as many donuts and as many latkes as possible, showing your connection to ancestral military domination over the bad guys!
We wandered the shuk, and I showed Melanie the Iraqi section, where the veggies are amazing and cheap AND, as she pointed out, shmittah-friendly (shmittah is pretty complicated. let's just say that Israeli produce purchases this year are a religious statement). I didn't realize I was being so frum (religious) about shmittah, I just like the carrots this one guy sells in the Iraqi shuk. And, as we know, I love Israeli carrots (I have a two-or-three-a-day habit).
Just as we left the shuk, I picked up two fabulous sufganiyot for Rafi and me. Mel and I parted for a few hours, where I picked up some groceries, wrote a half of a paper, watched TV, nearly cried at a particular touching episode of "Pimp My Ride" (really, they redid the guy's car, which he inherited from his late brother, and they had the Governator talk about BioDiesel and saving the environment...I love MTV.) and did a few loads of laundry. I also finally put my Hebrew stickers on my keyboard, which is why you'll see more עברית on my posts, now.
Neon Green Hebrew and English on my keys. I can FINALLY do my homework by blacklight, like I wanted to in 1995!
Night fell and I headed over to Rafi's with my new Chanukiyah, a box of candles, the donuts, a baggie of gelt (chocolate coins) and a 6-pack of Dr. Pepper as a present for Rafi. We lit candles, placing the chanukiyot in the windows for everyone to see, and he regaled me with all 1029321 verses of Maoz Tzur / Rock of Ages, just like how Bubbie and Dad like to sing it in Florida.
Maoz Tzur Yeshuati...(aka the verse I know)
...yemai minah, yemai shmonah...(aka the verses I don't know)
(Rafi does his best Berman impression, succeeds.)
The evening closed with a trip to a Kosher Ethiopian Meat Restaurant in the center of town with my pal Flags and Melanie. I also got some books, as I've joined a book club, and I got a new hairbrush. The brush reminds me of summer 2006, and my Nivo girls, because it is SO life.
Nivo '06 -- It's so life!
Castro, an Israeli store that is similar to Express, displays a lit Chanukiyah in the window of their Ben Yehuda shoes-and-bags outpost.
Happy Hanukkkkah, Y'all!