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Nu York, New York: Not Your Typical Hanukkah
By Ellen Levitt
12/14/2015
I began writing blog essays for the Jerusalem Post last year at Hanukkah time, and I have certainly enjoyed conveying my thoughts about Jewish topics and New York City, and the nexus of both. Throw in other secular topics, and that's life, in my humble opinion.

In any event, this year, 2015, 5776, Hanukkah has its quirks which I will point out. First off, this is one of the warmer Hanukkah times that I can recall. Oy vey iz mir, it hit 66 degrees in NYC today. I wore a T-shirt and no jacket, but personally I'm not thrilled about this, I prefer cooler weather for December and for Hanukkah. And my hopes of skiing in a few weeks are dwindling because of this balmy weather.

This year Hanukkah's end also corresponds with the 100th birthday of legendary singer and actor Frank Sinatra. Hoboken', New Jerseys most famous native son, Sinatra was an extraordinary singer and his voice is still a treasure. Let it be known that he was a supporter of Israel. With that in mind, when I was at shul on Shabbat, I suggested to a few friends that we should sing "Adon Olam" to the tune of a Sinatra classic. Alas, no one took me up on this offer. But I know it would work: most of his songs are in 4/4 time which is optimal for singing the closing prayer of our Saturday morning liturgy.

To make up for this, throughout Sunday I did play various Frank Sinatra songs while we drove in the car. I was aided in this mission by a local jazz radio station, WBGO, which originates from Newark, NJ. It may not be Hoboken but that's close enough.

But I did pay a visit to Hoboken this past Friday, partly because I am starting to do fieldwork for a new book (at least the publisher is keen on it so far) and I figured, let me go to Hoboken the day before the birthday of Old Blue Eyes. While in Hoboken, I biked over to the main synagogue of this small city, whose original name was Kohav Israel, Star of Israel. It is a very pretty 1920s era building. They had various Hanukkah decorations in their windows.

But today, Sunday, is not over for me. And a final Hanukkah treat awaits us: there is to be a meteor shower this evening! See, I fit this in with the name of the Hoboken shul. And with this, I wish you a happy winter.
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