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Photo and story by Edgar Asher/ Ashernet

Following the trauma of last month’s Gaza operation, Israelis are now focusing on next month’s elections.  However before the voting public are inundated with TV political advertising, and all the promises of a better and more peaceful future, there will be some respite as the colorful eight-day festival of Hanukkah begins on sundown next Saturday evening.

Hanukkah recalls the story of the liberation of the Temple by the Jewish priest Mattityahu and his five sons.  The victory over the Greek Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV was followed by the miracle of the rededication of the Temple altar when there was not enough oil to burn the Temple menorah for even one day, but by some miracle the oil burned for eight days, giving sufficient time to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah.

Many traditions of this family orientated festival are concerned with allusions to oil, such as fried food and of course the iconic doughnut.  In the days leading up to the festival and the festival itself, thousands of doughnuts will be eaten with a corresponding increase in the size of ones waistline directly proportional to the number of doughnuts consumed.