How It’s Made: Hanukkah Menorah

Alli­son Ofanan­sky; Eliyahu Alpern
  • Review
By – July 17, 2018

Alli­son Ofanan­sky and Eliyahu Alpern are back with anoth­er addi­tion to their How It’s Made series, which teach­es chil­dren about Jew­ish her­itage and tra­di­tions. This time, the top­ic is Hanukkah; Ofanan­sky presents back­ground and cur­rent prac­tice in her sig­na­ture clear and easy-to-under­stand style.

The focus of this book is the meno­rah. In addi­tion to explain­ing how to use the meno­rah prop­er­ly, the author adds the tra­di­tion­al Hebrew bless­ings in both trans­la­tion and translit­er­a­tion. A sec­tion is devot­ed to the mate­ri­als often used in fash­ion­ing this pop­u­lar rit­u­al item. A page on Mak­ing a Brass Meno­rah” fea­tures one artist and how he plies his craft. There are sim­i­lar pages for Mak­ing a Glass Meno­rah” and Mak­ing a Wood­en Meno­rah.” This is fol­lowed by a sec­tion show­ing the read­er how to make a meno­rah as a craft project.

The book also includes instruc­tion for mak­ing latkes, can­dles, olive oil, and drei­dels (plus direc­tions for how to play). An intro­duc­tion to the spe­cial Israeli treat of suf­ganiy­ot is pre­sent­ed, as are a num­ber of sim­ple Hanukkah games.

Alpern’s pho­tographs are bright and appeal­ing, wel­com­ing the read­er right into the fes­tiv­i­ties. They add piz­zazz and spir­it to this all-around attrac­tive volume.

This infor­ma­tive and engag­ing book is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed for all ages as the expla­na­tions are sim­ple enough to be under­stood by preschool lis­ten­ers, although the con­tent has sub­stance and will inter­est old­er read­ers as well. The crafts vary in sophis­ti­ca­tion, with some requir­ing help and oth­ers designed to be done independently.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

Discussion Questions