It's seems like Americans think Chanukah is the only holiday Jews celebrate, or maybe it's just a chance to pretend she celebrates Christmas, just with another name.
Abby, who had hated her for taking Kate's place, who had taken so long to warm to her, was the first to bring her a present. It was a tiny box wrapped in shiny blue paper.
"Open it," Abby says, shifting from foot to foot with equal parts excitement and nervousness. "It's a Chanukah present. For you."
Ziva does and finds a small bottle inside. She holds it up to the light and watches the liquid slosh inside it. She looks quizzically at Abby.
"It's perfume oil," Abby explains. "I made it. I thought a gift of oil would be appropriate for Chanukah."
Ziva twists off the cap and sniffs the oil. She is transported back to her mother's arms. Lavender soap, clean pressed linen, and fresh challah. Her mother, who had taught her her prayers and bandaged her scraped knees. Her mother, who had helped her light her first menorah and died in a roadside bomb coming home with the groceries.
"Thank you," she says to Abby, with a smile on her face, and unshed tears in her eyes.
2. Rosh Hashanah
"Shana tovah," Ducky says to her in a carefully practiced accent, and Ziva is shocked. Not that Ducky knows the correct greeting for Rosh Hashanah, because Ducky seems to know everything, but because he thought to wish her a new year at all.
"Thank you," she says, and he returns to his bodies.
"Wait," says McGee, trailing along behind Ziva and Tony. "You're supposed to eat in a tent all week?"
"Not a tent," Ziva explains again. "A sukkah."
"That sounds like more fun than sitting in church for hours," says Tony. "It's like a... a picnic holiday!"
Ziva is surprised Tony can't come up with a movie to compare it with. She's more surprised by McGee's response.
"Well," says McGee holding up the bag of takeout. "I have food, and we don't have a case. Let's go get Abby, and we'll make Ziva a tent!"
"A sukkah!" replies Tony, mangling the accent, but still enthusiastic.
Twenty minutes later they're outside sitting at a picnic table that McGee and Abby surround with sheets from autopsy.
"Ducky is going to kill us, but this was the best idea you've had in a while," says Abby, and Ziva has to agree.
4. Erev Yom Kippur
She has apologized for her sins before Yom Kippur every year, even when she was little and only had petty infractions to ask forgiveness for. This year, this year there were nothing petty about her infractions, but she does not apologize, at least, not out loud. Instead, she apologizes with her actions and hopes that Gibbs will understand.
"Oh," says Tony. "It's like Halloween."
Ziva shakes her head and wonders once again how she ended up in this conversation. "It's similar, I suppose."
"Does that mean you have candy for me?" Tony asks, leaning against her desk.
"No, Tony," Ziva says with a smirk firmly in place. "It's only a mitzvah if you give food to your friends."
She'd had a brother once, and she'd given him a Purim basket for the first holiday they'd known each other. Ari had looked at it like it was a bomb. She couldn't make up for her father, not for what he'd done to Ari, what he'd done to her. It didn't matter; Tony was more of a brother than Ari had ever been, so she threw him a packet of M&Ms and watched his smile take over his entire face. "Happy Purim, Tony."