Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Chanukah in Israel!

I've never been in Israel for Chanukah before and it was delightful to see what a festive atmosphere pervades the country.  Many people light their menorahs outside, to "publicize the Chanukah miracle" and it was beautiful to walk down our street in the evening and see the different menorahs and how lovely they looked lit (certainly made taking the trash out to the bins at the end of the street a lot more pleasant than usual!).

outside our house

little hard to see, but this is the glass bridge at the hotel where everyone lit their menorahs.  Incredibly beautiful to see, especially as it was the first view we had of the hotel when we arrived Thursday night

Penina and Ilana had off school for the week and Chana got a long weekend, so we celebrated by going to a hotel on a kibbutz in the Galilee for three nights.  We met up with cousins Gil, Nitsan and Eitan and toured around the Golan Heights (in fact, we saw the borders of Lebanon, Syria *and* Jordan).  Nitsan is a shoe designer for Naot and we all thoroughly enjoyed touring the factory and seeing what shoes she had designed (and Penina got a really stunning pair of shoes at the factory outlet).  I was especially impressed with the use of computer technology which uses lasers to cut the leather pieces to minimize waste.

Gil, Nitsan and Eitan were wonderful tour guides.  They know the area and the history so well (especially Eitan, who has lived through so much of modern Israeli history).
Eitan on the left, Gil on the right and the mountains of Syria in the far background of the right

Hotel Lavi was wonderful--great location, lovely hotel, fun other guests (including two girls from Ilana's class, neighbors from our street and two young women from Chana's seminary), and, of course, the famous Israeli buffet.  Chana and I went on a guided tour of the kibbutz and it was very interesting to hear about how the kibbutz has changed according to their members' needs.  Now, as their early members are aging, they have put into place home-care services and other ways to help their members stay and age on the kibbutz.  This is in addition to the regular kibbutz system which gives people a place to live, three meals a day, healthcare and does their laundry (I think I drooled a bit over that.....).  I think my family's only complaint was that we couldn't stay at the hotel longer :)

All in all, a really great holiday!

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