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“Sapins” A.K.A. Bushes and Other Also Known As-es

Chanukah (a.k.a. Hanukkah, Hanukah, Hannukah, Chanuka, Chanukkah,Hanuka, Chanukka, Hanukka, Hannuka, Hannukkah, Channuka, Xanuka, Hannukka, Channukkah, Channukka, Chanuqa) started last night on the Hebrew date of 15 Kislev and will continue for 8 days. I had forgotten till now – being so wrapped up in the celebration of both birth and death among friends and family.

Every year the brass “Menorah” (a.k.a. “hanukkiyah”) gets taken off its shelf – a seven-branched candelabrum that was used in the ancient Temple in Jerusalem – to light the multi-colored candles and sing the traditional prayers. My daughter, who thinks religion is for everyone else, always laughed at I set up the Menorah, placed the candles that had been purchased on rue des Rosiers and then sang the Hebrew words badly – but over the years she learned the prayers and sang along (also badly), just to cajole me.

21-12-11 from23-12-09_esl-tree

This particular Menorah is an antique Polish variety from the 19th-century purchased in the “Shuk ha-Pishpeshim” (flea market) in Old Jaffa during the time I was living in Israel in 1980. Ebay has one for sale very similar for $1,500 (others are even more “cher”) – and I can assure you, I paid a whole lot less!…maybe about $25! Either way, I treasure it.

With Christmas coming this weekend, the streets of Paris are ripe with trees bundled in their netting, waiting for many someones to take them home and decorate them. The contractor with whom I am working in Nice on my new apartment there (“Le Matisse”) showed us a photo of the mile-high tree he purchased for his family that was so large he could barely get it up the stairs and then when dragging it into the apartment, had to lop off the top to make it fit! It was a bit zealous, but not so dissimilar from my own fixation on the Menorah.

A Christmas tree has never gone through my own door – an act of heresy in my emotional religious and irrational opinion. My daughter complained of being ‘deprived’ of such a pleasure one year and took it upon herself to erect her own in her New York apartment. In her usual non-traditional style, not having a box of ornaments she had collected like faithful Christians do, decorated it with all sorts of odds and ends she found around the apartment. It was a one-of-a-kind and I proclaimed it her “Chanukah Bush” to ease my heretic pain. She just laughed again.

This Chanukah/Christmas (and any other holiday you might be celebrating) I am ‘winging’ it to New York to light candles and decorate trees with my daughter. Instead of visiting the tree under the dome at Galeries Lafayette (don’t miss it – it’s as beautiful as ever), we will be at Rockefeller Center to see New York’s most famous tree – a Norway Spruce donated by someone who grew it in his yard! You’ll be hearing from me next week from the Big Apple (a.k.a. New York City) instead of the City of Light. 

When the holidays are over, and the Chanukah Bushes (a.k.a. Christmas trees) have served their purpose, they’ll end up in all sorts of unwanted places, leaving their brown needles on our stairwell steps and sidewalks. Luckily Paris has thought of that and sets up 100 “points d’accueil” to recycle the “sapins de noël“ (a.k.a. Chanukah Bushes) which are up until January 22nd, 2012. They started this back in 2007 and have collected almost 100,000 trees since! Isn’t this the kind of community thoughtfulness so typically Parisian? For more information, visit: Paris Au Verte. And a Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas to all!



  adrian xmas_2011A la prochaine… 

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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 Matisse styleP.S.  “Le Matisse,” my newly renovated and artist-decorated apartment in Nice, is well underway to completion and will be ready for rental as early as February 2012. For those of you who trust that it’s going to be every bit as beautiful and luxurious as we promise, as an introductory offer, all reservations we receive before January 31st for 6 nights or more will get one night absolutely FREE! For now (until our own Web page is up), visit Le Matisse for more information and put in your request or email [email protected]. Hope to welcome you there!


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