Nostalgia Sunday – Hannuka like it used to be

December 28, 2008 - 10:25 PM by · 2 Comments
Filed under: General, Israeliness, Life, Nostalgia Sunday, Politics, War 

hannuak_stuffBack in the old days, children, Hannuka was a simple holiday without all the hoopla surrounding it today. The Hannuka menorah had eight branches and space for a ninth shamash candle in the center.

We lit the menorah with candles from Israel that came in a box decorated with some young fellows who became part of the family, meaning that, as the years wore on, one barely noticed that they were weird-looking and awkward – just happy to see them again.

We ate latkes, deep fried and slathered in sour cream and applesauce. We were given hannuka gelt, in both chocolate and coin form, and gambled it away playing dreidel. Yes, here and there an elderly relative would try to get us to play for walnuts, as they did in the olden days, but we were hard-nosed little capitalists and stuck with the legal tender.

There were none of these new-fangled conceptual art menorahs, like this one here, called Hanukit. hanukit01 Just plain old cast metal hannukiyot.

As the leitmotif of the day, it seems appropriate to explain that the name “Operation Cast Lead” comes from a children’s song by our national poet Haim Nahman Bialik. Translated, it goes: “My teacher gave me a dreidel / A dreidel made of cast lead / Do you know what it’s for? / Do you know what it’s for? / It’s for the hannuka holiday.” And so, they who name military campaigns, in their attempt to be clever, have ruined something lovely; will we ever again be able to sing that song without irony?

 

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