This is the second time I’ve been in Israel during the Xmas season – It’s wonderful to see menorahs everywhere instead of wreaths and trees. The malls play Hanukah songs and instead of bell ringers hanging around the shopping areas, young men with black hats and peyot are handing out sufganyot (filled donuts, which in Israel substitute for latkes as the holiday treat).
The economy seems to be doing very well. Stores are busy and most had signs to hire. Few sales and a strong dollar put a damper on my shopping as well as apparently discouraging tourism from the U.S. That didn’t stop me – and you shouldn’t let it stop you either!
For this trip, we stayed in the Tel Aviv area (with a couple of drives up around Haifa) visiting with friends and relatives. There haven’t been any attacks in Israel for a while, making a relaxed atmosphere. No call-ups of reserve troops and the kids doing their regular service get weekends off, so we got to see everyone. The icing on the donut was a marriage proposal and engagement announcement while we were there!