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Holiday Traditions: Joan Nathan

Joan Nathan

PBS is celebrating the holidays by sharing some of the favorite traditions, memories and recipes that make all of our holidays so very important and special. Each day we will highlight a new story from some of your favorite personalities.

Cookbook author Joan Nathan shares a memorable trip to Israel during Hanukkah.

One of my most memorable Hanukkahs was the simplest. About fifteen years ago, my young children and I were in Jerusalem, walking past house after house with menorahs shining in windows, observing the real spirit of this holiday of lights. When we reached the house where we were to have dinner with friends, there were no gifts, just the Hanukkah lights, good food and friends. There weren’t even potato latkes. But there were stuffed Moroccan vegetables and sufganiyot, jelly doughnuts that I contend are really the only Israeli food, concocted after the state of Israel was created in 1948. The lack of gifts and the celebration of just being with family and friends made it a truly special holiday. What is more, the men helped wash the dishes, always a satisfying event for me.

Joan Nathan was the host of “Jewish Cooking in America with Joan Nathan” on PBS, and she is the author of several cookbooks including her most recent, “Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous.”