Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday Season

This time last year I was in Israel celebrating Hanuka. This year it is great to be home in Australia with friends and family. The weekend was a good example of multiculturalism taking a hold on our summer Christmas.Eyal and I spent the weekend with my family, my little sister ( 12 y.o.) decided it was about time for a Christmas tree in the house. So we put on our hats and sunscreen and found a saw in dad's shed and off we went up to 'pine tree Hill', a little hill near our house. We hunted around for a while in the bush until we spotted the perfect tree and took turns cutting through the 2 inch trunk. With a tree over one shoulder we made our way home. We spent a fun afternoon clearing a place for it in the house and decorating it. Since my four year old niece will be the only 'little' kid home for Christmas we put teddy bears all around the bottom to make sure it was attractive!

It will be Eyal's first ever Christmas ( he still can't remember what the date is), and he comments occasionally that we are all very pagan in our symbolism. To be sure I have no good Christian explanation of the tree, lights, glitter kind of scenario???

In the evening we went shopping for flour and yeast and spent hours making home made 'sufganiyot' (absorbers), aptly named (deep fried) jam filled doughnuts, the kind of thing Eyal's mum might make for Hanuka. We lit 5 candles ( as was appropriate for that day in Hanuka) and with the help of my little sis we hassled Eyal into singing the first line of a Hanuka song, which we dutifully repeated before tucking in to the doughnuts. There is some symbolism in the doughnuts- they are deep fried in oil which is one of the central themes of Hanuka- the miracle of one day's worth of oil burning for 8 days after the destruction of the Temple. Many of the foods traditional to Hanuka are deep fried.

On Sunday evening we had a roast dinner (is this a Catholic tradition??? or just an Australian one? ), and of course dutifully deep fried some 'latkis' (potato fritters), and lit what candles we could find.

Overall we were very pleased with ourselves, and certainly fatter than when we started!

Next weekend my older sister is arriving, her husband is Muslim ( from West Africa), so we can see if they have anything further to offer.

What are your traditions for this time of the year..??

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Indigneous Language Program producing results

This story was on the abc website today. On the one hand it is exciting to see real results published in the mass media about how indigenous languages in schools has a positive effect on attendance and learning- on the other hand it makes t all the more frustrating that in schools across the NT that have majority of indigenous students aren't being given the same opportunity. I hope this won't be like climate change ( or is it already?) where someone works it out and then fifty years later governments start deciding it is time for action and policy.

Anyway- good onya Western Sydney schools.