Eight Chanukah Tales

Nis­san Min­del; Eli Toron; Shmuel Gray­bar, illus.
  • Review
By – March 9, 2012
Mir­a­cles and escap­ing from ene­mies are the aspects of Chanukah high­light­ed in this col­lec­tion of sto­ries, which take place in dif­fer­ent peri­ods of his­to­ry. The Mag­ic of a Vio­lin” recounts how a rab­bi saves a par­ti­san group in the for­est from dis­cov­ery by the Nazis with the help of his musi­cal instru­ment. In Those Days” and A Chanukah in Old Seville” deal with the Inqui­si­tion. A Can­dle in the Night” takes place dur­ing World War II, when a Bel­gian girl saves the chil­dren for whom she babysits and their par­ents by being brave like Han­nah. The Cru­sades are the back­drop for The Gold­en Shamesh.” In Young Has­moneans,” two boys with sim­i­lar appear­ances trick their cap­tors and con­vince one’s father to join the Jew­ish rebel­lion. Chanukah in No-Man’s Land” describes a World War II mir­a­cle. The final sto­ry, Miriam’s First Chanukah,” takes place in 1946. Miri­am has decid­ed she wants to light the meno­rah, which her fam­i­ly has nev­er done. Although they balk at first, her whole fam­i­ly par­tic­i­pates, and her father buys a beau­ti­ful new meno­rah for her. The first sto­ry is the strongest, with the ten­sion of poten­tial dis­cov­ery and the rab­bi sav­ing the group. There are a lot of secret pas­sage­ways and tun­nels as groups escape from their ene­mies. With the men­tion of dif­fer­ent rit­u­als, prayers, and learn­ing Torah, the book is obvi­ous­ly aimed at Ortho­dox read­ers, but most read­ers will enjoy this trip through his­to­ry. Ages 9 – 12.
Kathe Pinchuck, M.L.I.S., is the librar­i­an of Con­gre­ga­tion Beth Sholom in Tea­neck, New Jer­sey. She is cur­rent­ly the chair of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries.

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