Tonight I was out with my family. Let me tell you about the atmosphere during this Hanukah holiday here in the Old City of Jerusalem.
First of all – it's a bit chilly! But this hasn't stopped any of the numerous groups of about 40 or so curious Israelis come from other cities. They visit Jerusalem to wander the winding streets and view the warm glows of the hanukia – usually in the form of smallish glass boxes with the eight oil lamps held within. Special blessings are said when lighting the menorah, which is traditionally placed in a window or doorway where it will be visible from the outside – in order to publicize the miracle of the oil.
It is a bit enchanting as the glow bounces of the white stone of the buildings here. Admittedly too it is nice that there are an abundance of visitors to the Old City at night – albeit they can certainly get in the way of the residents comings and goings. It certainly does cause a bit of a traffic jam in and out of the city!
Chanukah is also marked among the observant by special prayers and scriptural readings in the synagogue, as well as by a special addition to the regular blessing after one's meals. If you time your adventures out just right, you can catch these prayers being said as you pass by people's homes.
But for the overwhelming number of Israeli's – in addition to the context of the holiday, it also means a half-day work schedule and a time to be with the family!
Thanks for checking in on the blog – and we'll see you tomorrow on the Harvest Show with a live update!
Middle East Correspondent