The Ellis Island Old World Folk Band made a noontime appearance at California Plaza, playing a series of holiday songs from various cultures and countries.
The first video below is probably the best instrumental “Hava Nagila” you’ll ever hear. The second is a lovely Armenian tune, beautifully sung after a 40-second instrumental introduction (which reminds me that Turkey may want to consider an apology of its own before seeking one from Israel). The third is a spirited version of “Felice Navidad.” Enjoy.
David Breakstone, vice chairman of the World Zionist Organization and a member of The Jewish Agency Executive, writing in the Jerusalem Post, notes that this Hanukkah there were two miracles: the existence of the modern state of Israel and the assistance to it by other states – first the Greeks.
[W]e discovered that we are not quite as alone in the world as we sometimes seem to take a perverse pleasure in believing we are. Even as we were reciting our prayers rejoicing in the Maccabean victory over the evil Greek empire, a far more friendly incarnation of this regional neighbor was the first to respond to our call for our help in battling the blaze on the Carmel. . . .
The Haftarah reading for Shabbat Hanukkah includes the verse that the rebuilding of our homeland will be achieved “not by might and not by power but by My spirit.” Our might and our power now having been exposed for what they are, it is a phrase we had best take to heart.
As we continue to kindle the Hanukah lights, we can pay our respects to the victims of the current conflagration, as well as to the heroes of our history, by surrendering the false sense of potency afforded by these myths [of invincibility and “it’ll be all right”], assuming instead the genuine strength of a spirit nourished by humility, modesty, and responsibility.
This picture shows the partially burnt Carmel Forest near the artists' village of Ein Hod near the northern city of Haifa on December 6, 2010 after the massive forest fire was finally brought under control, with the assistance of equipment and personnel from more than 16 countries. The blaze was the worst in Israel's 62-year history, consuming thousands of acres of forest and killing 42 people in total. [Both pictures are from Getty Images].