HANUKKAH: Eight Nights, Eight Lights by Malka Drucker

HANUKKAH: Eight Nights, Eight Lights

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A comprehensive treatment of Hanukkah, attuned to present-day sensibilities, that gets to the heart of the holiday's meaning and enables children to take an active part in all the ways of celebrating it. Drucker retells the Hanukkah story-how a small band of Jewish fighters, the Maccabees, held out against Antiochus' powerful Syrian army--without gloating over the military victory, preferring instead to emphasize the hope for religious freedom implicit in the restoration and rededication of the Temple. Discussing the symbolism of lights, she conveys the magic of lighting menorahs in a darkened room (""The candles spark the imagination. . . . Each seems to have its own life, burning brighter or faster than the ones beside it"") and explains why it was decided to begin with one, and increase, rather than to begin with eight, and decrease. (Said Rabbi Hillel: ""In things that are holy we go higher, not lower."") The chapter on games tells how to play dreidel (spinning top) and how this may have started; that on food gives simple, cautionary recipes for latkes (potato pancakes), sufganiyyot (orange-flavored doughnuts), etc., as well as telling the story of Judith's dinner with Holofernes (but tactfully, so as not to spoil anyone's appetite); the chapters on crafts and gifts provide instructions to start children on such projects as an acorn menorah or ""personally minted Hanukkah gelt that offers your services"" to the recipient. ""It's the doing,"" Drucker opportunely notes, ""not only the knowing, that matters."" With modest, accomplished drawings by Brom Hoban, it's the one Hanukkah book that's as much directed toward doing as toward knowing.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1980
Publisher: Holiday House