True to its essence as a custom-made Jewish state, the Land of Israel has literally been ignited with the flames of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah that began at sundown on Saturday December 24 and continues through sundown on Sunday January 1.
Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the re-dedication of the Holy Temple after the Greek army had defiled it beyond all recognition. The joyous festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a Hanukkiah– a nine-branched candelabrum, with one additional light being lit on each night of the holiday.
Take a look at the stunning displays of celebration and religious pride as seen throughout the Holy Land during this most festive of holidays!
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin and Head of the Mossad Yossi Cohen are all smiles as they light candles on the second night of the Jewish holiday of Hannukah during a ceremony for excellency in the Mossad, at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.
Caramel-filled doughnuts (called sufganiyot in Hebrew) on sale at Marzipan bakery in Jerusalem. The tradition on Hanukkah is to eat fried foods to commemorate the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days. Sufganiyot are therefore a reminder of one of the many miracles God performed for the ancient Israelites.
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky lights the Hanukkah candles on the third night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, at his home in the ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak.
Pepole walk past the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City which has been illuminated with projections of Menorahs to remind those of the special holiday happening now.
Israeli soldiers light the Hanukkah candles on the fourth night of Hanukkah at the Gush Etzion Junction in the Judea. Just as God assisted the Maccabees to defeat the enemy and defend Israel, the IDF too prays that God will protect them in their quest to guard the Holy Land.
A family of ultra-Orthodox Jews light candles on the first night of Hanukkah in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem. There are different customs as to which members of the household light the Hanukkiah. For some families, the head of the household lights for everyone, while in others, each member of the family lights their own.
Rabbi Gamliel Rabinowitz spins a dreidel (spinning top) on the third night of Hanukkah in Beit Shemesh. History tells us that after the Greeks declared it illegal to learn Torah, the Jews would do so in secret, and if a Greek soldier was suspicious, they would immediately hide the Torah, take out their dreidel, and explain it was a game of gambling.
A deluge of rain that fell throughout the country, but people didn’t let that stop them from visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City. The menorah pictured stands at the Kotel from the start of the holiday through the last day.
The Razel family sings holiday songs after lighting candles in the Nachla’ot neighborhood in Jerusalem. Traditional songs include “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah” and “I Had a Little Dreidel”.