The 25th of Kislev
Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. This is our third Hanukkah in Israel. Our first as Israelis was last year, the year of our aliyah. The prior Hanukkah in Israel was on our pilot trip, looking for schools for the Boy.
I am not yet jaded about the appearance of Hanukkiot on every corner (thank you, Chabad!), or tired of the flicker of lights from countless windows and balconies in every Jewish neighborhood.
If you have always lived in Israel, or have lived here for a very long time, you may have forgotten how special it is to hold the celebration of our own holiday where it isn't trampled by the majority-religion's glitzy overkill in non-Jewish nations. (In all fairness, even observant Christians cringe at the crass commercialization that has stripped their holy day of meaning.)
I find a very warm spot in my heart for all those quiet little lights flickering in the windows all over Israel. Like Lag B'Omer, this is a holiday best celebrated in our homeland. We're all Maccabbees, it sometimes seems, in an increasingly hostile world, lighting our lamps in the darkness and holding on to our Jewishness despite the slings and arrows and Kassams of inimical forces.
The collective lights from hundreds of thousands of windows is still a beacon of Jewish freedom and nationhood, telling the world "Hineinu."