Allan Levine: Jewish Life & Holiday Customs Are Both Joyful AND PORTABLE





Most Jewish Life & Holiday Customs Are Both Joyful AND PORTABLE:


No doubt many traveling readers who've carried the Hanukkah/Chanukah Menorah & candles or oil while traveling during this well-known family centered Jewish holiday can relate memorable tales of others joining in with them, when engaging in honoring this practice in public places.  This author can share some of our own, offering a suggestion that they're even more enjoyable when we can manage to share them with others, whenever possible.


On a recent occasion while passing through Miami's International Airport en route to visit with family & friends in Argentina, we were able to set up our Menorah & candles on a desk near the Gate to light them & recite the melodious prayers, joined by some other travelers who saw what we were about to do.  This was truly an exilerating experience!.


At California's Yosemite Park Lodge when my children were young, I asked the Desk Clerk to post my hand drawn 1 foot x 1 foot sign of an 8-branched Menorah with Shamash and candles & an open invitation to hotel guests to join us in our room for lighting & to sing the prayers/brakhot with us.  Among several couples/families who showed up, as we chatted we discovered one who turned out to be distant family through marriage with roots in The Netherlands, who were visiting from the US Midwest.  


Finally, on still another trip, while in transit at JFK Airport in NY and en route to Israel with an APPME Faculty Group Study Mission to Israel,  the 2 hour layover before boarding our El Al flight was enough to allow at least 30 minutes for the candles to burn, per Jewish custom and law.  After getting permission from Boarding Gate Staff I set up our Menorah/Hanukkiah and candles on the counter, readily visible to others in the area.   Various people there came over to join in and while singing the prayers/tefillot together, we also recalled the living yet ancient "ages-old victory and miracle" (ness gado hayah shahm) while awaiting our departure flight.  Once again, this time while en route to Israel we were joined in prayerful melodies & lights in a public reminder and another joyful Hanukkah celebration of the Maccabees victory against the darkness and our enemies' defeat with God's help – to restore the Temple in jerusalem, enabling our People and now us, to continue to honor Jewish values and practices at this time of year.  What a wonderful & privileged blessing it is to live with such support and friendship today in the USA! 


Allan Levine, Ph. D. (Professor Emeritus, Psychology, L. A. Valley College), North Hollywood, CA