CHANUKAH by Howard Greenfeld


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Not the holiday but the history behind it--nothing less, in Greenfeld's words, than ""the first battles fought not for territory or material gains, but for the right to the free expression of a way of life."" Greenfeld doesn't flinch from such matters as the compliance of wealthy Jews with Antiochus' forced Hellenization or Mattathias' strong-arm circumcisions and enforcement of the Torah and except for slipping in the words ""resistance"" and ""guerrilla"" as subtle reminders of the parallels to other freedom fighters, he allows the events to speak for themselves. Highlights are Jason's revolt and Antiochus' retaliatory massacre and plunder of the Temple; the example of elderly priest Mattathias and the leadership of his son Judah the Maccabee; the turnabout surprise attack on Gorgias' camp that marked the turning point in the struggle; and at last the rededication of the Temple, or Festival of Lights. A strong story, intelligently told--though the framed, postage-stamp ""illuminations"" are just decorations, and the 9 x 6(apple)"" holiday format is less forthright than the writing.

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 1976
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston