About Chanukah

Chanukah
Unlike most of the major Jewish holidays, Chanukah’s origin is not in the Bible, but rather in events that happened later. This is a holiday that lasts eight days and begins on the 25th of the Hebrew month of Kislev (usually in December). There are no completely holy days, so businesses are open as usual.

 

Chanukah marks a historic event that took place in the Seleucid period, in the 2nd century BCE. A few of the Seleucid kings (the dynasty that followed Alexander the Great, and which was based in Syria) tried to force the Jews in the Land of Israel to adopt certain customs that were against the laws of Judaism. The worst decree was when King Antiochus IV ordered the installation of a statue in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

 

In 167 BCE, the Jews revolted against the Greek Seleucid regime. A few of the leaders of the revolt, the Hasmoneans, or Maccabees, were the sons of Mattathias, the high priest. In 164 BCE, under the leadership of Judah Maccabee, the revolt reached its climax with the liberation of Jerusalem from foreign rule, including the Holy Temple. The events are documented in a few historical sources written at the end of the 2nd century CE, a few decades after the revolt. According to Jewish tradition, the holiday of Chanukah was instituted by Judah Maccabee.

 

The holiday lasts eight days, commemorating the celebrations marking the purification and rededication of the Holy Temple, and a miracle recorded in the traditions: When the Maccabees looked for holy oil to light the candelabrum in the Temple, they found only one small flask whose seal had not been broken and was therefore still pure. The oil in the flask was enough for only one day, but a miracle occurred and the oil burned of eight days. In addition to the element of heroism marked by this holiday, Chanukah also has a motif of light against darkness, so Chanukah is also called the holiday of Lights.

 

In modern times, Chanukah has been adopted as a symbol of the Jews’ struggle against their enemies on both the religious and national level. Today some people emphasize the religious, miraculous side of the holiday, while others focus on the national victory aspect. In any event, this is a holiday full of joy and is a special favorite among children.

 

Holiday Customs

 

 

Sufgania
Candle lighting - Throughout the eight days of Chanukah candles are lit in a Chanukiah, a candelabrum with eight branches in a row and an extra candle holder, called the shamash, from which the other candles are lit. On each night of Chanukah an additional candle is lit, starting with one on the first night, two on the second, etc. The shamash is always lit, too, such that in practice two candles are lit the first night, three on the second, etc. The Chanukiah is placed on the window sill or in some other visible place, and it is forbidden to use the light for any purpose. There is a custom to light the Chanukiah with olive oil, although most people today use colorful wax candles. A short blessing is recited over the lighting of the candles, a ceremony in which children are included, and which is followed by the singing of Chanukah songs.

 

Jelly donuts (sufganiot) and potato fritters - Another Chanukah custom is the eating of special foods, mainly those fried in oil, such as donuts and fritters.

 

Spinning tops - children play with four-sided spinning tops, marked with the Hebrew initials of a Great Miracle Happened Here. It is also customary to give children “Chanukah gelt” money for buying candies or toys.

 

 

  

Important Information

dreidl (spinning top)
Chanukah, which is not a Torah-ordained holiday, is relatively minor from the perspective of its sanctity, so most businesses are open as usual. In order to experience a bit of the spirit of this holiday, try tasting the traditional foods, particularly the sufganiot - a kind of donut without a hole in the middle, usually filled with jam, but also made with other sweet fillings. If you happen to be in Jerusalem during Chanukah, it is worth taking a walk through the ultra-Orthodox Mea She’arim neighborhood in the early evening, to enjoy the sight of hundreds of Chanukiahs lit in the windows of the homes.

 

 

 Photos provided by GoIsrael.com

 

 

 

 

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The first three parts of J.S.Bach’s Christmas Oratorio BWV 248 were recently performed in two performances in Jerusalem and one in Bethlehem. With Gunther M. Goettsche (music director of the Redeemer Church, Jerusalem) and Erwin Meyer sharing the conducting, members of three choirs – the Choir of the Redeemer Church (Jerusalem), of the Schmidt Schule (Jerusalem) and of the Olive Branches Choir (Bethlehem) joined to form a large chorus. They were joined by the Belvedere Chamber Orchestra Weimar (Germany). Soloists were Heidrun Goettsche-soprano, Anne-Marieke Evers-alto, Sebastian Hübner-tenor and Samuel Lawrence Berlad-bass. This writer attended the performance at the Dormition Abbey, Mt. Zion, in which Erwin Meyer was conductor. Father Nikodemus, of the Dormition Abbey, offered words of welcome to the large audience.

 

Bach’s Christmas Oratorio was completed around Christmas in 1734. Its format is that of a cantata, with the tenor Evangelist narrating the story of the birth of Christ. All texts sung by the Evangelist are minimally accompanied in order to give the Gospel texts prominence. From Christmas Day to Epiphany in the 18th century, the town of Leipzig celebrated the birth of Jesus and the events surrounding it with six commemorations taking place between Christmas Day and the Feast of Epiphany. At each of those events, Bach’s congregation was presented with a single cantata of the Christmas Oratorio, recounting one of the stories, their biblical texts accompanied by reflective texts. The three first cantatas heard at the Jerusalem and Bethlehem performances feature the first three celebrating the birth of Jesus (December 25th), the shepherds’ adoration of the baby (December 27th) and the circumcision and naming of Jesus (New Year’s Day).

 

From the opening five-note phrase on the timpani, the performance at the Dormition Abbey was one of joy. Choruses, with the chorales reflecting the voice of the people, were well coordinated and articulate; the singers were attentive, their phrases shaped, full of impetus and energy, making for rewarding choral performance. Served well by his bright, rich and agreeable tenor voice, Sebastian Hübner gave the narrative spontaneity and flexibility, at times urgency and even suspense. In the virtuosic “Joyful shepherds, hurry, ah hurry”, he and the orchestra’s very excellent flautist in the obligato role communicated and embellished with alacrity. Honorary professor at the Heidelberg University of Church Music, Sebastian Hübner has a wide repertoire, has premiered new works and is a member of the Schola Heidelberg Ensemble.

 

There was much natural warmth and richness in the singing of German-American baritone Samuel Lawrence Berlad, standing in for bass Peter Schüler, who had taken ill. His mix of mellifluousness and dramatic flair gave colour and life to text and music, as in the dialogue with obligato trumpet in “Great Lord, O mighty king”.  An opera singer, Samuel Berlad is also a Jewish cantorial singer and voice teacher, heading the vocal department of the Tel Aviv Cantorial Institute. Dutch-born mezzo-soprano Anne-Marieke Evers, much specialized in performance of early music, dealt with the alto recitatives and arias with outstanding vocal presence, projecting her voice amply and with natural ease into the acoustic space of the church. In the aria “Sleep, my dearest”, she recreated this moving jewel of a lullaby in gentle, empathic yet substantial singing, as the basso continuo repeated the note g in octave leaps to depict rocking the baby. With a minimum in the way of solo soprano arias, we heard duets with tenor and bass from renowned voice teacher Heidrun Goettsche. Pronouncing the angel’s words (in effect, God’s words) “Do not fear”, the recitative accompanied by held chords in the strings, we heard one of the girls of the Schmidt School choir, her clean, fresh voice conveying the message of solemnity, succour and hope.

 

Members of the Belvedere Orchestra Weimar (concertmaster: Johannes Müller) are all students at the Music Gymnasium Schloss Weimar, a selective high school for talented young musicians from Germany and other countries. The orchestra was outstanding throughout the performance, its balance, intonation and obligato roles refined, sophisticated and subtle. Conductor, piano accompanist and composer Erwin Meyer, director of the Olive Branches Choir (Bethlehem), drew all the participants together in conducting that was articulate, expressive and exhilarating.  A fine mix of people from many communities attended the festive event.

 

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http://pamelahickmansmusicinterviews.blogspot.com

 

 

Photo: Maria Ciocan

 

 

 

 

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Design Museum Holon’s newest exhibition opens on the 20th of December 2016.  Overview engages with one of the most important inventions in human history, and a desirable design object: eyeglasses. The exhibition follows the development and future of eyeglasses through several different points of view: from the unique Claude Samuel retrospective eyeglasses collection dating back to the 17th century to contemporary conceptual interpretations of eyeglasses by 50 Israeli designers highlighting the creative energy of the Israeli design scene. In addition, the exhibition explores the new Virtual Reality (VR) technology, as well as the different ways sight and design can interact through various activities.

 

On the ground floor in Dr. Shulamit Katzman Gallery, Design Museum Holon presents more than 40 commissioned works by Israeli designers from a variety of backgrounds, including fashion, textile, jewellery and product design to answer the question: “What are eyeglasses?” This part of the exhibition demonstrates the transformational nature of this design object through Israeli designers’ myriad of interpretations, compelling visitors to engage and question the themes of vision and self-image. For example, renowned Israeli product designer Yaacov Kaufman explores the evolution of eyeglasses from monocle to mask, presenting it in a striking comparison to human evolution. Dana Ben Shalom, in contrast, delves into the relationship between glasses and the nose, whilst Galit Shvo reinterprets how glasses can be worn and their subsequent connection to the face.

 

In contrast to the modern interpretations of eyeglasses presented in the Lower Gallery, the Museum’s Upper Gallery (500 m2) showcases more than 400 items from collector Claude Samuel. A visual display of the history of eyewear, his extensive collection showcases the ways in which different cultural milestones actively influenced and were influenced by the invention and evolution of eyeglasses. Unique pieces ranging from Elton John and John Lennon style eyeglasses to authentic Eskimo bone eyewear are exhibited alongside sketches of eyewear designs made by Claude's father from the Pierre Cardin Fashion House, and more. This is the first time this collection is presented in a museum.

 

 

 

 

Vision Test’, part three of the exhibition, presents visitors with various objects from the Aharon Feiner Eden Materials Library that are also part of the Museum's permanent collection. These challenge the interaction between sight and design through interactive activities and optical illusions related to focus, colour and perspective. One example is Carnovsky Studio’s award winning RGB project, consisting of a large-scale multi-layered wallpaper, which projects different images depending on the colour of light illuminating the wall. This project was made possible through the support of the Istituto Italiano di Cultura and the Italian Embassy in Israel.

 

To complement the overall theme of the exhibition, Design Museum Holon's Design Lab engages in what the future of eyeglasses holds through an interactive display of Virtual Reality glasses in collaboration with The French Institute of Israel, Forum des Image and Holon Cinemateque. The Lab also features a “repairing reality” workshop dedicated to repairing and renewing eyeglasses, where visitors can bring in their old glasses and refurbish them in their own style. In addition, through an exclusive application created for the exhibition and a web camera incorporated into a big mirror screen, visitors are able to look at a projected image of themselves wearing different eyeglasses from the Claude Samuel collection and share the captured images on social media.

 

“Engaging with eyeglasses, such a common and everyday object, can be carried out from so many angles, but we have chosen to engage with it from the perspective of the person using the object. In the exhibition we will examine cultural milestones and the central role eyeglasses played in defining social and cultural phenomena. We tend to forget that the initial purpose of eyeglasses was to correct a flaw, and eyeglasses do not conceal that flaw, but actually emphasise it by means of design. The exhibition will not only enable an observation of the cultural history of eyeglasses, but also of the designer's role throughout the process,” Maya Dvash, Exhibition Curator and Museum's Acting Chief Curator.

 

 

About Design Museum Holon

Designed by world-renowned architect Ron Arad, Design Museum Holon was inaugurated in March 2010 and has quickly established itself as one of the most exciting developments to emerge in the Middle East. The Museum is part of an urban regeneration initiative that aims to transform the City of Holon into a centre for design. Central to Design Museum Holon’s mission is to supply an enriching and thought-provoking environment for visitors to explore exciting and engaging design ideas, principles, processes and objects in a tactile and practical fashion. www.dmh.org.il

 

 

Photos Silvia Golan

 

 

 

 

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The Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra’s second concert for the 2016-2017 season offered Baroque music aficionados a unique program. This writer attended the event, “A Christmas Special”, in the Mary Nathaniel Golden Hall of Friendship of the Jerusalem International YMCA on December 8th 2016.

 

Due to illness of one of one of the artists, there was a last-minute program change: instead of J.S.Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.6, we heard Bach’s Trio Sonata for organ BWV 527 performed in the traditional Baroque trio sonata format by Idit Shemer-flute, Noam Schuss-violin, Orit Messer-Jacobi-‘cello and JBO founder and musical director David Shemer-organ. The Sonatas for Organ (BWV 525-530) from around 1730, (they may also have been played on pedal-clavichord or pedal-harpsichord) written when J.S.Bach was tutoring his eldest son Wilhelm Friedemann in organ and composition, are made up of earlier composed instrumental movements, newly composed movements and older organ works. With Johann Sebastian’s choice of clear textures for this instructional material, requiring the young organist to exercise total independence of hands and feet, what distinguish these works from other organ repertoire are their textures which imitate the instrumental trio sonata, inviting a variety of transcriptions which date from the 18thcentury to today.  Addressing the fact that they are neither the flamboyant toccatas and fugues nor the chorale-preludes imbued with mystery, the JBO artists did not dispense with the intimate and eloquent character both of the piece and also of the Baroque instrumental sound, despite its performance in a hall. With Idit Shemer playing a Baroque traverso flute, the other instrumentalists pared down their volume to what resulted in chamber music of fine transparency and poetic nuance, with sympathetic contrapuntal dialogues woven between flute and violin. A nice aperitif to the evening and presented by core JBO players.

 

Then to Dietrich Buxtehude’s (c.1637-1707) cantata cycle “Membra Jesu Nostri” (The Limbs of Our Jesus) BuxWV 75, a mystical work based on a collection of hymns in which each cantata represents the glance of a believer, standing at the foot of the cross, as he addresses parts of Christ’s body, his focus moving upwards from Christ’s feet to his face. The text, thought to have been written by Cistercian monk Arnulf de Louvain (c.1200-1250), reflects the rise of 17th century Lutheran pietism and its characteristic subjectively emotional sentiments. Each cantata is constructed along the same lines, the opening instrumental sinfonia followed by a “dictum”, an aria of three stanzas, with the dictum repeated at the end. The composer only breaks this form in the last cantata, where the repeated dictum is replaced by a lavish Amen. The work is scored for a small ensemble and five singers, the latter singing solos and small group- and tutti sections. The JBO instrumentalists were joined by members of Ensemble PHOENIX (founder and musical director: Myrna Herzog) and Tal Ganor-soprano, Anat Czarny-mezzo-soprano, Avital Dery-mezzo-soprano, Hillel Sherman-tenor and Guy Pelc-bass. In performance that was unforced rather than dramatic, with emphasis on clear diction, David Shemer led instrumentalists and singers through the work, preserving its meditative, devout and soul-searching character. For Cantata No.6, the instrumental sound world changes markedly: the violinists stand down and four viol players join ‘cello, theorbo and organ in a mellow, velvety setting to present “To the Heart”. This is indeed the heart of the work. The original ensemble returns for the final cantata and the viols are gone. The choruses presented a lively and interesting mix of vocal timbres, with vocal trios highlighting intensity of texts.  Add to that Anat Czarny’s attractive, radiant voice, Avital Dery’s spiritual understanding of the work, Hillel Sherman’s burgeoning, natural tenor, Guy Pelc’s gentle intensity and Tal Ganor’s creamy, blending timbre. Ganor, just a little too careful, could have projected her voice further into the YMCA hall.   The instrumentalists, including the evocative sound of the theorbo (Eliav Lavi), seized every opportunity to add interest and beauty to a work that is quite exquisite.

 

In his program notes, Maestro Shemer speaks of the fact that the music of the “veritable giant” Buxtehude “has not had fitting representation on Israeli music platforms”. The impact this performance has had (more Easter-oriented than Christmas) will hopefully mean that we hear more works of the Danish-German genius, whose music had such a profound influence on J.S.Bach.

 

http://pamelahickmansblog.blogspot.com

http://pamelahickmansmusicinterviews.blogspot.com

 

Photo: Maxim Reider

 

 

 

 

 

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Over 60 leading women from across the world joined together last month for a panel discussion showcasing Israeli females in the lead.
Organized by The Israel Project (TIP) and the Embassy of Cyprus in Israel, the event served as a platform to discuss and understand the challenges and opportunities facing women in Israeli society in the modern age.
Among the panelists were popular journalist Judy Shalom Nir-Mozes. Former IDF commander Miri Eisin and Israeli Olympic athlete Maayan Davidovich.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, today (Thursday, 15 June 2017), in Thessaloniki, at the third trilateral summit, signed joint statements for the continued strengthening of relations.

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A senior delegation from Tanzania, headed by Dr. Aloyce Nzuki, Permanent Secretary Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism, arrived in Israel for a series of meetings and events designed to increase cooperation with the Israeli tourist industry, and encourage Israeli tourism and investments to enchanted, exotic Tanzania.

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At a festive ceremony attended by Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, the Lauder Dormitory Building was inaugurated today at the Technion
state of the art building was donated to the Technion by World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder and his wife Jo Carole

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09 June 2017 – Jerusalem) The U.S. Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations Nikki Haley visited Yad Vashem today. The Ambassador was guided through the Holocaust History Museum by Dr. Robert Rozett, Director of Yad Vashem Libraries, participated in a memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, visited the Children's Memorial and signed the Yad Vashem Guest Book.

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On Wednesday evening, June 7th, the Embassy of Slovenia in Tel Aviv celebrated 26 years of independence, and 25 years of bilateral relations with Israel. The commemoration was held at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Jaffa. The event was timed to coincide with visits by both the Minister of Education, Science and Sport Dr. Maja Makovec Brencic, and a high-level parliamentary delegation led by National Assembly President Dr. Milan Brglez.

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President Reuven Rivlin today (Wednesday) met at his residence in Jerusalem with United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Nikki R. Haley.

President Rivlin welcomed her and said, “You are a dear friend of Israel. We appreciate your strong stand on the world’s most important stage, in support of the security of the people and the State of Israel. With your support we see the beginning of a new era. Israel is no longer alone at the UN. Israel is no longer the UN’s punching bag.”

He continued, “When I spoke at the UN on Holocaust Memorial Day, I said that the UN must learn from the lessons of the past, and stand up against hatred and racism. I said it must end its obsession with targeting Israel. Progress has been made. Israel’s standing at the UN has improved. But sadly, we have a long way to go. Both in holding to account, public statements made by officials, and in supporting regulation to reduce the ridiculous number of discussions and resolutions against Israel. This is also true in the Human Rights Council - which has been hijacked as a weapon against Israel - and in UNESCO, where they seek to rub out the history of the Jewish people.”

The President thanked the Ambassador for her great contribution to the State of Israel, and said, “Ambassador Haley, as the representative the US - Israel’s greatest and strongest ally - we appreciate very much your support of Israel, and all you do to stand up for the values of freedom and democracy which we share. Welcome to Israel, welcome to Jerusalem.”

Ambassador Haley thanked the President for his warm welcome and said, “Thank you Mr. President for taking the time to meet with us, it is an absolute thrill to be here in Israel, I so much appreciate the support we have received from the people of Israel. But I feel somewhat guilty because all I did at the United Nations was tell the truth. I have never taken kindly to bullies, and the UN has bullied Israel for a very long time, and we are not going to let that happen anymore. It is a new day for Israel in the United Nations. We just got back from Geneva, talking about the Human Rights Council and hopefully it will be a new day at the Human Rights Council when it comes to Israel.”

She concluded by saying she was greatly looking forward to her visit to Israel and said, “I am looking forward to taking in the history, the beauty, the tradition, and all that comes with the magic of Israel. Thank you very much for having me it is a pleasure to be here.”

Photo credit: Mark Neiman (GPO)

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Friday was a beautiful late spring day; the gardens were lovely, the weather was fine; the guests were elegantly attired; the refreshments were generous and delicious; all the makings of a happy celebration marking the National Day of Sweden. H.E. Carl Magnus Nesser, ambassador of Sweden to the State of Israel, hosted the event at the ambassadorial residence in Herzlia Pituach.

The event was attended by many Swedish nationals living in Israel; Swedish music, Swedish food, Swedish sponsors and a generous open bar – all the makings of a happy event.

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A fundamentally agricultural holiday, Shavuot commemorates the custom of bringing offerings to the Holy Temple from the first fruits of the harvest and the first animals born to the flocks.

Shavuot, the Holiday of Weeks, is one of the three pilgrimage holidays, along with Pesach and Sukkot. These are the holidays on which the whole Jewish people would come to Jerusalem​ in ancient times, when the Holy Temple was there, and would offer animal and grain sacrifices.

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Tel Aviv Eat presents three evenings of tastings and workshops featuring the region’s leading restaurants and most prominent chefs. Entrance is free (including the chefs’ demonstrations), and tasting portions range in price from NIS 20-35. Doors open each evening at 18.00. There are several performance stages, live music, and stands selling beer.

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"Only when we remember the families who were torn apart from everyone they loved, who suffered that terrible darkness and evil, who had endured the unbearable horror of the Holocaust, only then can we prevent this agony from ever repeating." President Donald J. Trump Add a comment

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The Charles Bronfman Auditorium at Habima Square is one of the centerpieces of the Israeli arts and cultural scene, home to the Israel Philharmonic for the last 60 years. On Friday, May 19th, it was home to yet another historic event, with the dedication of the entrance hall to Miri Shitrit of blessed memory.

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President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin today, (Monday), welcomed President of the United States Donald J. Trump, and First Lady Melania Trump on arrival at Ben-Gurion International Airport, and then at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

On his arrival at the President’s Residence, President Trump signed the official guest book and wrote, “It is such a great honor to be in Israel and be with all of my great friends”.

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  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, today (Monday, 22 May 2017), at Ben-Gurion International Airport, welcomed US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania with an honor guard.

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President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday , at a ceremony at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, received the diplomatic credentials of the new Ambassadors to Israel from Thailand and Spain. Each ceremony began with the raising of the flag and the playing of the national anthem of the visiting country, and - after the presentation of the credentials - the signing of the guest book, before the playing of Israel's national anthem 'Hatikva'.

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JPost.com - Breaking News

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