Playing Dreidel With Judah Maccabee

Theater 61 Press  2011

The play told in eight scenes, corresponding to the eight days of Hanukkah. A modern boy named Jonathan finds Judah Maccabee in an abandoned room, which exists both in Jonathan’s temple and the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. Jonathan explains to Judah the odd modern practices that commemorate the ancient battles. At first Judah is horrified, but then he comes to learn why the boy needs those traditions. The play examines the concepts of ancient and modern perspectives on war and religion, but at the same time celebrates the Jewish ability to persevere during difficult times. It is filled with music and gentle humor. Beyond the script, the book includes an introduction by the author, a brief history of the historical Judah Maccabee, and a short study guide with suggested questions after. The script can be used as a basis for performance or simply read as literature. Either way, it is a festive and entertaining way to learn about the origins of Hanukkah, as well as the holiday as we celebrate it today.



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