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Friday, December 10, 2004

Photo Friday (Vol. VI)

Welcome to the Hanukah edition of Photo Friday!

Today’s collection of snapshots is brought to you by, well, me. It’s not that I don’t have a healthy backlog of photo requests – there are at least 12 people (at last count) waiting patiently for their requests to be honored (and hopefully many more to come).

But you know what? One of the perks of owning the pushcart is being able to sample the goods whenever the mood strikes. Being Hanukah and all, I wanted to share a few snapshots from my ride home last night…

The first stop after leaving work was the bakery/coffee shop down the street from my office. This time of year they churn out an incredible quantity and selection of sufganiyot –traditional softball-sized donuts that are filled with jelly, caramel or chocolate and topped with powdered sugar. There are other, more exotic varieties (feel free to share your favorite), but these are the ones you’d be most likely to find in stores around Israel.


Next, about 20 minutes north of Beer Sheva (probably on or near the spot where Harry spent the last week of his army service) I came upon the first roadblock. It was manned by a couple of miluimnikim (reserve soldiers). A pretty large portion of the population does annual reserve duty, leaving their families behind for weeks at a time, until well into their 40s.  Please note the non-regulation headgear! Reservists tend to take a perverse pride in not looking (or acting) like their younger conscript counterparts.


About 10 minutes north of the first roadblock is a second one. There are two roads that lead off into the desert towards the town of Arad… so in order to control traffic on both there are two groups of reservists.  I couldn't bring for one and not the other, right?


When I was almost home I decided to stop into another bakery and pick up more sufganiyot for my family (our fave is ribat halav – caramel filled). While I was there I decided to pick up a few extra for a roadblock that sits off on a lightly traveled road behind our town. Whenever I think of it I try to bring goodies to this roadblock in particular since a) they are in a spot that sees very little traffic (light traffic = light goodies); and b) they are protecting one of the back approaches to my town…I sleep better at night knowing they're there. 

I arrived just as this new group of soldiers was being dropped off.  And no, it wasn't my idea to be in the picture... one of my hitchhikers picked up the camera and decided to document the event.


Last but not least (yes, owning the pushcart also means I get more than 3 pictures!) is the response to a question I’ve gotten countless times. Apparently one of the pictures of me holding Yonah shortly after he was born has a clear view of my signet ring. Here’s a link to the picture… but I’ve also included a close-up of the ring here (yes, I know the menorah is set up backwards… that’s the second most common question I get. The reason is that this is a signet ring. It is carved with a negative image so that it leaves a correct positive image when pressed into sealing wax):


The most common question I usually get is, “why are only some of the candles lit on your ring’s menorah?”

The answer comes from a Hasidic tradition of calling the 5th night of Hanukah ‘the darkest night’ and making special celebrations on this night. According to the way the Jewish calendar is set up, the 5th night of Hanukah is the only night that can’t fall on Shabbat. It’s called ‘the darkest night’ because on all other nights you could potentially have the Shabbat candles to provide additional light / holiness to the home. But on the 5th night… only the Hanukah candles are lit. As a result, there is a tradition to try to do something special on the 5th night… invite friends over… even have a party to elevate this ‘dark night’.

I’m not a Hasid, by any stretch of the imagination, but I really liked the concept of having to bring extra holiness to one day of a holiday. To me, it implied that even though we may celebrate the holidays… even though we may surround ourselves with good people and live in a wonderful community… there will always come a time when it will be up to us to provide a little extra ‘something’. Whatever goodness exists in the holiday… in our friends… in our communities… it won’t be enough to just be passive and enjoy it. We will one day be called upon to step up and throw a little of our own light on the world.

I liked that.  In fact I liked it so much that I asked Zahava to design the image and I had a goldsmith create the ring.  So, if you've been waiting for just the right time to do an especially good deed, Saturday night after lighting the 5th candle might be a nice opportunity.  :-)

Happy Hanukah & Shabbat Shalom!

Posted by David Bogner on December 10, 2004 | Permalink


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This is your bi-daily reminder to donate to PizzaIDF's Hannukah Feast. And huge thanks to Lair and Misha for helping me push this. It's a great cause. But more importantly, David went and did the hard part himself last night... [Read More]

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Hi David,

I liked the story about the 5th night, I wasn't familiar with it.

Posted by: Jack | Dec 10, 2004 9:39:29 AM

I had half a dozen things I was going to say (shocking, I know), and then I noticed how much the sign next to the sufganiyot looks like it says "DONUT" and my short attention span kicked in.

Posted by: Tanya | Dec 10, 2004 3:11:04 PM

Jack... It is not widely known outside the Hasidic community (and not even all Hasidim make a big deal of it), so I'm not surprised.

Tanya... Well, when you think of the other things feel free to share. Yes, the sign says 'Donuts', spelled out phonetically using Hebrew Letters. The trend towards using English words in place of perfectly good Hebrew words is something I find quite annoying! But then I get pissed off when I go to buy chopped liver on the upper west side of Manhattan and pay twice as much because they call it Pate'.

Posted by: David | Dec 10, 2004 3:48:07 PM

David: Since I'm on the West Coast, the first thing I do Friday mornings (after adding hot water to the instant coffee crystals) is stumble to the computer to see Photo Friday. You're really good with that pushcart.

You're a mentch for feeding the guys. I don't think America has nearly the "we're all in the same boat" mentality, but we did briefly after 9/11.

Shabbat shalom -- shavua tov.

Posted by: Doctor Bean | Dec 10, 2004 4:52:27 PM

Ok, I'm awake now, if you can call twitching from the sugar "awake." I'm not a big fan of doughnuts, but these could turn my head. Anyway, here's the long version:

I actually don't read Hebrew, tho I've heard it's not really any harder than Russian, I just thought the letters looked like stylized versions of the (arabic? germanic?) english letters. i.e the first letter looks like a D, the second like an O, etc. Which may have been what you meant, anyway...

I'm awed and envious that you can do this. For as much as I'm devoted to PizzaIDF, it's absolutely no contest. (And I'll get you that logo, even if I have to have a contest on my site)

I love the ring, and the explanation, and the fact that Zahava designed it, and (naturally) the caption under the picture of you and Yonah, which made me laugh out loud before the sugar. Do people tell you you look like David Duchovny?

Finally, to go totally teenaged girl on you, everyone always talks about (for good reason) how beautiful Israeli women are, but those are some cu-u-u-ute guys. And since they're probably young enough to be my sons, I'm going to stop thinking about it now.

Shabbat Shalom, and since we probably won't hear from you before then, have a wonderful 5th night!

Posted by: Tanya | Dec 10, 2004 5:33:24 PM

I, too, was not familiar with the 5th night story. You are just full of information! ;)
And it's fitting that the east coast Bogners will be together for 5th night this year (PURELY by accident, as you know it's almost unheard of that we get together during the actual holiday, with everyone's busy schedule!)
I also was not aware of the story of that ring of yours (I'm always the last in the family to know ANYTHING!).
Hmmm, David Duchovny? no. Richard Gere, yes. (in the eyes and shape of face!)

Posted by: val | Dec 10, 2004 7:35:11 PM

hey david--longtime lurker, first time commenter here!

i love the blog--it's the second stop of the day, after my email! anyway, i love the unabashed pride and support you have for 'your' soliders. kol hakavod. i hope to visit efrat this summer, since i'm moving to jerusalem in july!

shabbat shalom from a small town in the states--

Posted by: jessie | Dec 10, 2004 8:48:48 PM

Doctor Bean... "...instant coffee crystals" gaaah! I had to have a hot cup of Gold Coast Bold just to get the thought of instant out of my head!

As to your other thought, I don't think the US has had the same relationship with it's men & women in uniform since WWII.

Tanya... That was one lucky guess! Since Hebrew is read from right to left, you were looking at the last letter (samech, which has an 's' sound) and thinking it looked like a 'D'. The word really spells out 'Donuts' using Hebrew letters!

As to PizzIDF, that is a wonderful organization... thanks for publicizing it on your site. I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy every second of spoiling the boys and girls along my commute (and to whom I give rides). It won't be long before I have to send my children off to the army and I'm desperately trying to build up a balance in the karma bank. :-)

OK, I'll admit I had to google "David Duchovny". I've watched the X-Files before, but I didn't know the actor's real names. And, no... nobody has made that observation before... but that was a nice boost for my ego! Thanks!!!

As to the cute soldiers... the first two pics are of reservists, so chances are they are your age or older. The boys in the truck are likely all between 18 - 21.

Val... Richard Gere??? What? Do you need to borrow money or something? Just say so!

Jesse... Glad you said hello. I hope you look me up when you get here!

Posted by: David | Dec 11, 2004 6:44:00 PM

How come it says "Donuts" not sufganiyot?????? anyway.... Chag urim samaeach.. Ribat Chalav is my fave too!

Posted by: Faye | Dec 12, 2004 2:53:52 AM

Wow, I love that darkest night thing! Nothing like staying up til all hours writing papers on the darkest night of Chanukah...

Shavua Tov!

Posted by: Stx | Dec 12, 2004 8:56:07 AM

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