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Chanukah in Argentina

By Ellie Gettinger, Education Director

In thinking about Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, I always consider how the warmth and light of our hanukiahs brighten the cold and drab December days. As the days at this time of year get shorter and shorter with night falling progressively earlier, we add a candle each night, making it that much brighter. And yet, consider how this changes if instead of being in the midst of the dark winter, you are leading into the Summer solstice. I had never considered how the difference in season would change the celebration until I was sitting in class last night and my professor point out the seasonal difference in Argentina.

So I am asking you to imagine, Chanukah in shorts and sandals; candle lighting either during the daylight hours or waiting till 9:00 PM to light after sunset; being on summer vacation during Chanukah, meaning that it doesn’t reach the same frenzied level of insanity in which my kid has come home with a ton of Chanukah related activities and songs. In thinking about this seasonal shift, from winter to summer, I was totally flabbergasted…and it gave me a totally new and different sense of the holiday. I have learned something totally new about the experience of Diaspora–my framework for the Jewish experience was limited to the Northern Hemisphere.

Come check out “Southern Exposure: The Jews of Argentina” to learn more about the Jewish practice and life of Argentine Jews… and remember, we will be open on Christmas Day (screening Evita)!