Sufganiyot, or: Donuts

Some years, my early December birthday
overlaps with Chanukah (don't worry about 
the English spelling - there's no right or wrong);
and this is just such a year.
My daughter immediately makes the connection,
as soon as I mention the fact. "Abba'chka,
can we have sufganiyot to celebrate
your birthday this year? Hooray, hooray, hooray, hooray!"

Sufganiyot? Sure, I figured you'd ask. Essentially,
they are donuts, fried in oil, as all 
traditional Chanukah foods are; but in Israel -
sufganiyot are a -major- 
cultural phenomenon. Every bakery strives
to outdo itself and its competitors every year
with sundry decadent, colorful sufganiyot flavors; 
they literally produce -menus-
to guide customers through shelves covered
in donut rainbows.

Throughout much of the Western world,
including the USA - where I grew up - Christmas
trees, Santa Clauses, nativity scenes are everywhere 
in the winter season; chicks, eggs, 
bunny rabbits are ubiquitous during Easter... 
Whereas here, in Israel, the world's one
Jewish state, I see 
Jewish, rather than Christian, holiday 
symbols in shop windows, lining the streets,
covering the walls of our public schools. 

Home; Israel is simply home. It's the one
place in the whole world where it's entirely
natural to be Jewish; I can appreciate this so much
because I'm intimately familiar with the diaspora.
Here, Jewish life is dynamic and
alive; vibrant and colorful -
not unlike the sufganiyot
my daughter has been salivating over
(they're already being sold, 
weeks before Chanukah begins,
but I won't tell her that).

My child does not appreciate
Israel, due, in part, to tender age
(only natural); but also perspective - 
she has nary a concept of being a religious minority 
(only natural). Of course(!) there will be sufganiyot 
at every corner during Chanukah - duh! 
She's already wondering
what new flavors they'll have this year.

"Yes, Dear, of course we will - we'll go together
to the bakery to pick some out!" And I think
to myself -once again- that -I- could have been
her if my parents 
hadn't decided to move our family
to America.

dโ€™Verse Poetics Prompt:

‘Epiphany in the Time of Holiday’

At d’Verse, poets were invited to imagine a moment of pausing, a still point of epiphany this holiday season. You may write using any poetic form, whatever suits. What would having an epiphany during this holiday season look like for you (or someone you know or imagine)?

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

65 thoughts on “Sufganiyot, or: Donuts”

  1. I love how you use the sufganiyot to set up a comparison between two perspectives, that of your daughter who has known nothing but:
    โ€˜the one
    place in the whole world where itโ€™s entirely
    natural to be Jewish;โ€™
    And you who have lived for a long time as part of a minority. I can only identify in terms of having lived as a โ€˜foreignerโ€™ for many years โ€“ there is something very comforting in coming home.

    1. ๐Ÿ˜ Ingrid ๐Ÿ˜ – yep. And while I am happy for others when they celebrate their cultural and religious events, it’s incredibly cozy to live in a place where my traditions are mainstream.

  2. Christmas
    trees, Santa Clauses, nativity scenes are everywhere
    in the winter season; chicks, eggs,
    bunny rabbits are ubiquitous during Easter…

    And they keep bringing them onto the shelves earlier and earlier since the average pagan has no concept of the liturgical Calendar. The problem is that both Feast Days have lost their true meaning and become excuses for toothe decay. – On another note we do make up special baskets of tiny eggs up with religious symbolism to give out to the children at church on Easter day. Best of both worlds? The original reason for ‘EGGS’ ( real hardboiled and decorated) is that in the Orthodox church most people do not eat protein on the week days of Lent- the eggs are given out as the first Protein breaking the fast of Lent

  3. David, my goodness, your life is a good novel, and I’m sure your opinions on America would be well worth listening to. Odd you lived in the midwest, not NYC or LA. Atypical, and more interesting.

  4. Someone said that if you travel north, you’ll regret the things you might have experienced in the south. If you go south, you’ll have even more regrets. We are where we are, and there are rewards in (nearly) any direction.

  5. The exuberance of youth tempered by the awareness of parenthood! Loved the way this one unfolded! The photo just screamed “calories” and my pancreas was spasming!! hehe!

  6. David, this one hit home. That insider/outsider dichotomy is something I can relate to, and it leads to moments spurred by simple things, like fried donuts instead of Santa Claus chocolates. In a way, we relive our lives through our children, their perspectives from vantages we never had transforming our own. I like the way you bring that out in a quiet turning inward as you wonder out loud.

  7. what a delightful narrative – the voice of the father – sounds almost (almost!) beyond your years. And the fluidity of the identity flows through the text. ๐Ÿ™‚

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