Chanukah, which began at sundown on Dec. 16, is considered a minor holiday in Judaism, but Israelis have adopted several traditions to make sure it is observed.
First come the chanukiot, the menorahs that are lit, often in clear, transparent boxes outside of families’ homes, throughout the country during the eight-day celebration.
Then there are sufganiot. That’s Hebrew for doughnuts.
Israelis eat an estimated 24 million of them during Chanukah each year. Angel Bakeries, the country’s largest, reportedly makes 250,000 doughnuts a day during the holiday.
Israeli bakeries produce doughnuts filled — in addition to the standard strawberry jelly — with such flavors as halvah, chocolate, and dulce de leche, cappuccino, pistachio and vanilla cream.
A pair of soldiers in the elite Egoz unit, above, takes a break from their duties for a holiday snack. IDF soldiers consume some 300,000 doughnuts annually.
Israelis have instituted several other Chanukah traditions. Among them: concerts and comedy shows; an annual torch relay from the city of Modi’in, home of the Maccabees, to a giant menorah at the Western Wall in Jerusalem; large neighborhood menorahs to whose lighting all residents are invited; special exhibitions and family activities at museums; arts-and-crafts workshops at malls and outdoor spaces; and back-to-nature events at parks and forests.