1) Best culture/festival events in Israel.


First, I want to say that I love the fact that I was interviewed by a cultural radio show because you know Israel is very well known for the start-up nation, the hub for innovation and technology, but I bet you didn’t know that we have about two hundred museums which is the highest in the world for capital. We also have a sale in book publishing. Every year, we have more than one thousand book originally published per every million residents which is considerably the size of Hong Kong, seven million roughly, will be seven thousand original books written in Hebrew. So that's why we are often referred as the people of the book, not only because of the bible, but also the book publishing in Israel. Literature prose, poems, philosophy, this is excel. So one of the major festivals in Israel would be the festival of Jerusalem which will be in every spring, the end of May and June. It’s three weeks of all major performances and art, concluded with the book fair of Jerusalem. So it's a combination of art, theatre, music, drama and contemporary dance within the three weeks. This is a major international event that combines the heritage and best explanation about Israel that all ancient Jewish tradition and heritage with the Israeli contemporary creative spices.

首先,我非常開心能夠接受電台文化節目的訪問,因為你知道以色列是新創企業之國,作為創新與科技匯聚之地而聞名。但我打賭你不知道我們其實有超過二百個博物館,是全世界首都之最。 而且我們也有書本印刷的銷售,每年我們每一百萬居民之中就有 一千本版印刷書籍,相對於香港七百萬人口,就等於了出版七千本希伯來文書籍。這就是為什麼我們被稱為書本的人類 ,不單止是聖經印刷,也有其他不同種類,例如文學、詩歌、哲學等。而其中一個重要的以色列節日就是耶路撒冷節,通常在春天的結尾,大概在五至六月舉行。這三星期的藝術表演,結合了舞台劇、音樂、現代舞蹈。這節日最能代表同時包含猶太人傳統及現代創意火花的以色列。

2) Will there be a lot of tourists?


Yeah, that’s a lot of tourists for not only that, but also many cultural events in Masada which is a major pilgrimage site in the dead sea. There is always a big opera production every year outside in the old fortress of Masada. It's a more contemporary cultural event, but of course we have Jewish festival that also celebrates everywhere, including HK. At the end of December, we will be celebrating a festival called Hanukkah. It's Hanukia like a chandelier, which is a sample of some of the instruments we are using. The festival itself lasts about eight days, each day we use the tallest candle to raise the other candle, until we reach eight candles. Hanukkah is the festival of light.

無錯,但很多遊客的原因不單只是如此,是因為同樣有很多文化活動在位於死海附近的朝聖之地-馬薩達舉行, 每年在馬薩達的舊堡壘外都會有歌劇表演。這個表演相對較為現代化,但我們同時在世界各地,包括香港亦有慶祝猶太人的節日,例如在十二月尾舉行的哈努卡節, 這處看見的哈努卡節燈枱就是慶祝所用的器具,節日長達八天,每一天我們都會用最長的燈盞點燃另一支燈盞,直至八支燈盞全部點亮。所以哈努卡節亦有光明節的意思。

3) It’s celebrated on certain dates of December?


Jewish calendar is actually like the Chinese calendar. It's according to the agricultural season. It's a lunar calendar so it changes every year. It's always in December. In this December in 2019, so we will start celebrate on the 22nd, so it is very close to Christmas.


These are the typical toys for children to play in Hanukkah called Dreidel. We have competitions of how long your dreidel can last.


4) Are there any other festivals you want to mention too?


As I mentioned the Jewish new year which is a significant event in our calendar, usually celebrated during the month of September or early October. This year we celebrate in the late of September, like the Chinese new year that every year is different. After that, we have a series holidays according to Jewish calendar. But I want to mention only the fun one which is especially for kids, except the Hanukkah which is also for a lot of children, we have Purim. Purim is based on the scroll of Esther, also a biblical scroll. We commemorate the saving of the Jews from the hand of Haman, an evil person, ruler who wanted to kill all the Jewish in the kingdom. So we do a lot of parade costumes, it’s like Halloween but with scary faces. If you come to Israel, you will see parade on the street with children and adults, with funny, traditional original costume and the best feature in this holiday is actually a mask. It's a mandatory thing to drink until you don't know, it means you really have to celebrate on that night.

正如我先前提到,猶太人新年是我們很重要的節日,通常都會在九月或十月初期舉行,而今年就會在九月尾慶祝,就好像中國新年每年的日期也會不同。根據猶太日曆,我們還會有一連串的假期慶祝。此外,我想特別提及很適合小朋友,而且十分有趣的節日,除了哈努卡節外,就有這個普珥節。普珥節來源於舊約聖經中的「以斯帖記」, 以紀念猶太人在邪惡大臣哈曼的滅族計劃中倖存, 所以我們會做很多巡遊表演衣服,就好像萬聖節帶恐怖面具一樣 。如果你來到以色列,就會見到大人及小朋友穿著搞笑或傳統的服裝,並帶著面具在街上巡遊表演。而且另一樣當晚必做的事就是飲酒,還要飲得盡興。

5) How's your feeling to HK for living in two years?


First of all, I would like to mention that I feel very welcome in HK, I was expecting this mission for a long time because I am a graduate in International and Chinese studies in Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I have learnt Mandarin and never practice. Since then, I went to Chinese region and I finally got here and two more years to go. My family here all feel very nice and welcome and it's a comfortable place.


6) What do you like the best here?


Actually I think HK is one of the most unique cities in the sense of scenery. The combination of a bustling city, with skyscrapers, but with the sea and harbour, and the mountain and jungle so you see green and blue and buildings all mixed together, so the combination is very unique. Also, in the sense of scenery, I love to just stroll around the streets of HK, mainly the market, the Chinese New Year market is the best, like the Wan Chai Wet Market with all the decorations and I feel so alive.


7) Have you tried dim sum?


I don't eat pork, sometimes it's a challenge, but I do like the Chinese food. Tea and dim sum are my favorites. I actually adopted some local habits, like drinking only hot water and tea.


8) Please introduce the national flower of Israel.


We don't have a public national flower, we have a national flower by vote. But as a national symbol, we actually have the olive leaf, which is the olive tree. From the national emblem, we see the olive branches that symbolize peace in our tradition and this is also the way to greet people. We say “Shalom” and it signifies peace. So this is the combination to show our love and greeting for peace in our land.

我們沒有一種大眾的國花,只有透過投票選出的國花。不過作為國家的代表,橄欖葉和橄欖樹就是我們的國花,從國徽中我們可以見到橄欖樹的枝葉象徵著和平 ,我們向人打招呼時會說“Shalom”,亦代表著帶來平安,所以橄欖樹象徵著愛與和平。

9) Any trendy slang?


Slang is actually a lot and complicated. If you come to Israel, two major words except “Shalom” which is the greeting. You need two words , one is “Sababa”, which means excellent, the best and you can say on everything, like please come, “Sabababa”, how was the restaurant, “Sababa”. Another word which is opposite meaning, is “Balagan”, its means mess and chaotic. You can say how is the traffic, “Balagan”, how's your apartment and the office, its “Balagan”.


以色列駐港澳總領事Ahuva Spieler、夏妙然博士
以色列駐港澳總領事Ahuva Spieler、夏妙然博士