There are many customs in Israel related to the Jewish holidays. Some are identical to those customs followed by Jews around the world – the lighting of the menorah, each night adding a new candle until all 8 candles are lit; eating potato pancakes; spinning the dreidel (a four-sided top with a letter on each side).
But as with many things, there are some things that are uniquely Israel. For example, all over the world, the dreidel has four letters: nun, gimel, heh, shin – the initials for the phrase: A great miracle happened THERE.
Here in Israel, the dreidel has three of the same letters, and one different one: nun, gimel, heh…and paiy – the initials for the phrase: a great miracle happened HERE.
Another custom that is uniquely Israel, one that has already started, is that the stores are filled with sufganiyot – jelly donuts. In this video, a chef is teaching some army cooks how to prepare the jelly donuts. The music is one of the songs that we hear on chanukah, the narration explains how to mix and prepare the donuts…even if you don’t understand Hebrew, it’s still fun to watch the quick preparation…each base throughout Israel will receive donuts in the weeks to come, culminating with the holiday itself.
On each base, the soldiers will gather and light the menorah. I’ll write more about Hanukah soon, but for now, enjoy the presentation: