A great miracle happened HERE

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I felt all sappy Zionistic today at my niece's Chanukah play. There are four grade fives in her school which is a public religious school in Efrat, around 20 minutes outside of Jerusalem. Together they put on a show to end all fifth grade shows. But what really got me choked up (and lets pretend for a moment that it's not easy to get me emotional) was the contrast between this Chanukah party and celebrating Chanukah last year in Vancouver.

Of course Chanukah is a beautiful holiday anywhere in the world. But while in Vancouver I worked at a Hebrew school. It's really such a nice school and probably the best part were the parties throughout the year for the different holidays. Chanukah is no different... But the contrast between here and there is stark.

Yes, of course every community has its up-hill battles, but the girls in my niece's class are living and breathing their heritage. While we had to translate every little word to the kids attending Hebrew school in Vancouver, all the girls in my niece's class speak Hebrew fluently - even those (like my niece) who recently arrived in Israel.

Again, I know that no community is perfect but everything when it comes to Judaism just seems to be so much more natural here, even if only because "everyone is doing it." (For example, the fried foods are available in such abundance as we all seem to be very strict about making sure to eat lots of it.)

So, I watched with real naches as the girls put on their play, sang their songs and danced their dances. And I felt grateful we have Israel and so grateful I have the amazing zchut (merit) to be spending Chanukah where it all happened.

A quick dreidel lesson

Isn't it funny when your facebook friends seem to have a theme going with their status updates? You know what I mean? Often it's 100% random. This time maybe not 100% but may I say 70%? I just had three people comment about what it says on the dreidel (those things we spin on Chanukah, in case you didn't know). So here is a quick lesson on the letters on the dreidel. They actually stand for something:

Outside of Israel, the dreidel says: נס גדול היה שם - A great miracle happened there.

In Israel the dreidels say: נס גדול היה פה - A great miracle happened here.

Someone wrote he's touched hearing his little daughter say "po" (here) without even knowing there is another option. Another guy commented on the "po" and then suddenly I read the status update from someone living outside of Israel. He quoted the dreidel's words with the "sham" (there).

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