No wreaths, no carols, no holiday gift sales.
In Israel, outside of Bethlehem and a few other Christian enclaves at least, Chanukah is the holiday this time of year. There is no sign of that other holiday.
Bakeries and groceries feature waist-high stacks of jelly doughnuts, Ashkenazi restaurants turn piles of potatoes into latkes, families light their chanukiot in glass-covered cases outside their front doors and children spin dreidels that substitute the Hebrew letter peh for a shin, as in “A great miracle happened here (po).”
(JTA) —- The European Commission will give $10 million to help Palestinian families living in the West Bank.
The commission decided to channel funds from its Humanitarian Aid department through nongovernmental and international organizations, including United Nations agencies, according to a news release issued Tuesday.
The funds will be used for emergency job creation and the provision of dry food rations for Palestinians living in the West Bank’s Area C, which is under Israeli control and administration.
(JTA) — Austria’s government will give $28.6 million to restore Jewish cemeteries in the country.
The cemeteries were abandoned and looted after Austria joined the Third Reich in 1938.
The decision came late Monday evening during a meeting of Austrian officials and Ariel Muzicant, president of Vienna’s Jewish community.
The money pledged by Austria will be distributed over 20 years. The Jewish community will raise a matching $28.6 million from citizens and outside donors, Bloomberg reported.
It’s an early Christmas present — from the birthplace of Christianity.
Israeli archaeologists this week, a few days before Christmas, announced that they had for the first time discovered the remains of a house in Nazareth that dates back 2,000 years, to the time of Jesus.
Jesus grew up in the city in northern Israel.
The discovery “sheds light on the way of life at the time of Jesus,” in the early Roman Period, the Israel Antiquities Authority said.
They were showing the flag a lot in Israel this week. And a lot of flags.
Preceded by Yom HaZikaron, the annual day of remembrance for the soldiers who have fallen in Israel’s defense, Yom Ha'Atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, marked the country’s 60th birthday.
There were fireworks and torch lightings, concerts and speeches, a bike race and Bedouin festival, TV documentaries and parachute shows.
And it all began with the raising of the state flag at Mount Herzl.
Rabbi Gideon Shloush, the spiritual leader for a dozen years of Congregation Adereth El in Manhattan’s Murray Hill neighborhood, said an all-day conference he attended this week inspired him to change his reading habits.
He’ll read a printout of his synagogue’s membership list today.
The Web site for Hofstra Hillel lists a wide range of social, educational and religious activities that the Jewish student organization at Hofstra University offers.
It doesn’t mention organizing impromptu choruses.
Which Hofstra Hillel did one recent night.
If only the Barts had scaled Mount Everest on the High Holy Days.
Instead, the mother (Cheryl) and daughter (Nikki) from Sydney, Australia, were on the world’s highest mountain during Passover, part of a two-month expedition on which they reached the summit last week and made history. They became the first mother-daughter team to scale 29,035-foot-high Mount Everest, as well as the tallest peak on all seven continents.