Certainly round here it is, with that good mix of Jewish and Christian festivities which is the hallmark of Broughton Park in Salford. As I visited an old lady with the Shabbat candles which she couldn't obtain herself, being housebound, I was struck by the good mix of Chanukah menorahs on car tops and Christmas lights in the surrounding windows. I gave my Anglican friend a calendar which had been included with one of the newspapers, bearing all the Christian holidays for next year. And she gave me a Chanukah present, which I haven't opened yet.
I thoroughly enjoyed the children's synagogue Chanukah Show, entitled: 'Chanucha X-Factor', in which even the wicked Antiochus Epiphanes
was thanked for being so horribly cruel to the Jewish people. Because without him, we wouldn't have had Chanukah. Can you think of any other religion which is actually grateful to their enemies for giving them a chance to display even more faith and love of God? Terrific acting by the kids!
Who should win the prize for Chanukah, asked the kids. Is it the latke, the doughnut, the Maccabees? No, none of these - it should be the oil. For oil represents both old and new - the oil which over 2000 years ago lasted for eight days- a miracle, and which is now used to fry latkes, doughnuts and other goodies at Chanukah.
This is a time of year when people should be even more concerned than ever with their neighbours. And I particularly liked an article in today's Times, in which the journalist stated that
the internet is at any time of a year a way of not engaging with the people under our noses.
How true - how mechanised our society has become - how robotic! Which is why I was very grateful for the friend who took me out for an impromptu meal, including a glass of wine. And I left feeling decidedly light-headed. And she felt better for being impromptu about it.
Which is why, on returning home, I couldn't quite believe that I was hearing correctly when I tuned into Classic FM
and found them talking about Chanukah and a new synagogue in Birmingham, followed by a wonderful rendition of Handel's Messiah.