The owner of an Israeli restaurant who has spent more than half of her life in the Bay Area says there is still much to look forward to during Hanukkah, despite the war between Israel and Hamas hitting the two-month mark.
Mica Talmor is the proprietor of Pomella, a popular Middle Eastern restaurant in Oakland. She wants the holiday to remain a time of celebration and joy, but also feels the need to speak about the changing climate for the local Jewish community.
"I never imagined that I would experience such rise in anti-Semitic views and expressions in our streets here, in California, in the U.S.," said "This is the time for me to voice who I am and my opinion, to be out there, to be supportive of our community, to allow a place for people to congregate and get together."
Talmor opened the restaurant in 2020. After navigating the pandemic, she is proud that Pomella has become a destination in Oakland. She plans to live up to that reputation throughout Hanukkah with events each night including live music, dancing, candle lighting, and food.
She made a Moroccan donut called a sfinge for KPIX to demonstrate one of the treats she remembers as part of her holiday traditions growing up in Israel. A neighbor shared it with her family and now it is a part of her celebration of Hanukkah at the restaurant.
"Pomella is a place of community. I think Pomella has always been a place for the greater community, not just the Jewish community. This is the place where people come and celebrate life, she said. "That's my role. It's always been my role."
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