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Festival of Lights

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Hanukkah amidst the throngs of Israelis on vacation during this holy week left me enamored of the holiday but unimpressed by the festival. Still, I can recommend Israel - especially Jerusalem - as a place to experience one of the reverential Festival of Lights, especially if you have Israeli friends with whom you can share a Hanukkah dinner and candle-lighting. But, if you’re looking for a pilgrimage, party, or pageant full of revelry or beauty, find another festival.
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Jerusalem, Israel
This holiday has long been called the “Festival of Lights.” But, Tel Aviv is a modern, secular city so it was hard to find much in the way of Hanukkah celebrations. Jerusalem was a different story with menorahs in so many windows and families...
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Jerusalem, Israel
The first time I visited Jerusalem was in 1991 during the time of the Arab uprising called Intifada. I arrived in this holy city and immediately sprinted to the Old City despite being warned it was one of the more unsafe areas. Despite Jerusalem...
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Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
One of my favorite experiences is to walk through one of the more orthodox neighborhoods in the evening and see the menorah with candles burning in each window and hear the singing from home to home. Some of my Israeli friends choose to celebrate...
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Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel
After hunkering down in a “safe house” December 5, 2012 when Cairo became a war zone, I hightailed it to Israel just as Hanukkah was emerging. Hanukkah has multiple meanings and metaphors. My Jewish teenage neighbor calls it, “The Jew’s feeble...