Heddy Abramowitz
Artist Living in the Eye of the Storm
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Hanukkah: Doing it in public

Luminous snapshots from Jerusalem's Nachlaot neighborhood

It was a revelation to me when I got to Israel that part of Chanukah celebrations was the public display of the miracle of the holiday. I grew up in a Jewish home, one of very few, in an overwhelmingly Christian southern Maryland suburb, close to the border of Washington, D.C. We just didn’t do that.

Chanukah Candelabra in Arched Window © 2014 by Heddy Abramowitz
Chanukah Candelabra in Arched Window © 2014 by Heddy Abramowitz

Moreover, my parents were Holocaust survivors. We didn’t place our Chanukah menora in the wide bay window on the street-side. We lit our candles on the formica kitchen table and never thought twice about it. If I would have given it any pause at all, I would probably think it was for the same reason that we used the fireplace only occasionally – we didn’t want to go messing up the paint job with smoke. Drawing attention to our Jewishness was probably the last thing my parents would be interested in. And I get it. Now.

Blessings and Blossoms, © 2014 by Heddy Abramowitz
Blessings and Blossoms, © 2014 by Heddy Abramowitz

So it was something of a whole new world to observe my first Chanukah in Jerusalem, where lighting candles in the most street-facing window is the common practice. It is magniv (awesome) to see candles flickering in windows throughout the week wherever Jews live. But, I don’t take it for granted.

Razel Family and Guests, Nachlaot © 2014 by Heddy Abramowitz
Razel Family and Guests, Nachlaot © 2014 by Heddy Abramowitz

In my own neighborhood in the Jewish Quarter, we have throngs of groups that come to visit as soon as night descends to see the candles amongst the Jewish Quarter alleys, which I’ve written about here and here. It is a reminder to me how special it is to live where I do and that I did not always have this life.

Lights and Laundry c. 2014 by Heddy Abramowitz
Lights and Laundry © 2014 by Heddy Abramowitz

My studio is in another one of Jerusalem’s many picturesque locations, Nachlaot. Very close to the thriving (and increasingly yuppified) outdoor market Mahane Yehuda, tour groups and individuals come from far and wide for the special charms of its own alleyways and eclectic residents. Here are some highlights from my wanderings during the last night of Chanukah a year ago in Nachlaot.

Collector's Chanukiot Display c. 2014 by Heddy Abramowitz
Collector’s Chanukiot Display © 2014 by Heddy Abramowitz

It also reminds me that miracles happened then and do in our times as well. So join me in this virtual walk through Nachlaot celebrating Chanukah. Chanukah Sameach.

Family Lights  © by Heddy Abramowitz
Family Lights © 2014 by Heddy Abramowitz
Chanukah Lights in the Alleyway  © 2014 by Heddy Abramowitz
Chanukah Lights in the Alleyway © 2014 by Heddy Abramowitz
Chanukah Lamps Lit at Doorways  © 2014 by Heddy Abramowitz
Chanukah Lamps Lit at Doorways © 2014 by Heddy Abramowitz
About the Author
Heddy Abramowitz is a Jerusalem artist. Born in Brooklyn, NY to Holocaust survivors, raised in the southern Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., she shelved her career as an Israeli lawyer in favor of her first love, painting, and exhibits her art in Israel and abroad. Some say she is a lawyer in recovery, others just shake their heads. Believing that art communicates when words fail, she reviews Jerusalem art exhibits in English to broaden audiences for art made in this unique city. She also occasionally weighs in on current events. Living many years in the Jewish Quarter in the Old City significantly affected her outlook on living here, a work in progress. Good dark chocolate is her one true vice.
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