Thursday, December 25, 2008

A busy Chanukah week

Chanukah is one of the many feasts that fill the Jewish calendar. It is in remembrance of the revolt of the Hashmonaim, a priestly family that fought against the Greeks who had defiled the Temple 2000 years ago. When rededicating the Temple a small cruse of oil burned miraculous for eight days until fresh and purified oil could be got ready for the eternal light that was always kept alight in the temple. Until today on Chanukah we light up candles, on the first day one candle until on the eights day we light up eight candles.
Sunday for the lighting of the first candle I had an invitation to the Harman School for religious girls. There was a grand possession bringing in a Torah Scroll to the newly opened study center. I took my friend, a young woman from Germany along, who is in Israel for a year of volunteer service with the organization “Reconciliation and Peace work”. She works in Yad Vashem and visits me once a week. I wanted to give a chance to witness something very special and typically Jewish and Israeli. It was a real pleasure to see all the pupils dancing and singing carrying the Torah Scroll under the Baldachin of a stretched out Praying Shawl, taking pride in doing so and a very moving ceremony.
The Border Police plays a very important role in our live in Israel. Apart from their daily duties for our security they are also concerned about our social well-being. As a result of often being on duty in Yad Vashem, the central base of the Border Police in Jerusalem decided last year to adopt a group of Shoa Survivors and invite them on occasions to their festivities. For the second night of Chanukah I was picked up by a police car and taken to the base to share dinner with the soldiers, take part in the lighting of the second candle and watch a special funny Standup show.
For the third candle I participated at the opening ceremony of Café Europe, just down the street from me. It will serve Shoa survivors of the neighborhood as part of the local community service that I am involved in.
Chanukah will keep me busy.

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