Happy Hanukkah from Israel!
This is a time of year when Jews all over the world feel that they are a minority in their country. Christmas takes over the public sphere, painting it green and red and covering it with gold tinsel. Here in Israel, Hanukkah rules! Schools are out on Hanukkah vacation. Menorahs are lit on every town square, on national TV, and even on the radio. If you wish to teach your children how the Christian world is celebrating you will have to take them to a church or YMCA and point out to them what a Christmas tree looks like. When they see such a rarity, Israeli children often remark that it is a tree covered in sukkah decorations. This is because industrious Israeli merchants buy Christmas decorations after Christmas and sell them in Israel as sukkah decorations.
Chag Hanukkah Sameach!
Anat Hoffman is executive director of the Israel Religious Action Center, the legal and advocacy arm of the Reform Movement in Israel.