Late olive harvest threatens popular Chanukah project
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Late olive harvest threatens popular Chanukah project

This year’s olive harvest is late, and Chanukah is early, arriving at the unseemly date of Dec. 1.

That’s bad news for Chabad rabbis who run travelling olive press demonstrations, bringing old-time Chanukah skills to thousands of children in schools and synagogues nationwide.

They need the ripe fruit to squeeze into oil, reports Jeanette Friedman on

According to Adin Hester of the Olive Growers Council of California, the tardy harvest resulted from uncooperative weather. The bloom set late and the farmers couldn’t begin shaking the olives from their branches until October. Producers may have to continue harvesting through Thanksgiving, just days before the start of the holiday, but may not have the workers on hand to help do the picking once the weather gets cold.

Additionally, while the crop is the largest in three years, many farmers are complaining that the olives are smaller than usual.

Chabadniks don’t give up easily, however. The (travelling) show will go on, and perhaps, somehow, those late-blooming handfuls of undersized fruit will, uh, burn for eight nights.

It’s happened before.