The Fam­i­ly Chanukah Book

Dovid Gold­schmidt, Gadi Pol­lack, and Yoni Gerstein
  • Review
By – September 1, 2011
The Fam­i­ly Chanukah Book includes eight chap­ters, each with a sto­ry, a game, a recipe, a por­tion of a ser­i­al com­ic, a song, and three quizzes about Chanukah (divid­ed by dif­fi­cul­ty), as well as repro­duc­tions of the Anti­ochus Megillah. The folk­tales focus on how the extra efforts to observe Chanukah prop­er­ly in dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances are always reward­ed. Pre­sent­ed in eight sec­tions, the com­ic tells of Jew­ish boys hid­ing from the Nazis in a monastery but deter­mined to light a chanukiyah. They are even­tu­al­ly shocked to learn that one of the priests from whom they have been hid­ing their activ­i­ties is a Jew who turned to Chris­tian­i­ty; inspired by the boys’ ded­i­ca­tion, he returns to Judaism. Read­ers can test their knowl­edge of Chanukah cus­toms and fin­er points of hol­i­day halacha with the quizzes, in three lev­els of dif­fi­cul­ty; an answer key is pro­vid­ed.

Fea­tur­ing the work of three renowned artists, The Fam­i­ly Chanukah Book is an attrac­tive vol­ume, print­ed on heavy, glossy paper. The themes of the sto­ries and the con­tent of the quizzes, as well as the fact that, except in the answer to a quiz ques­tion or two about whether women should light a chanukiyah, females are not rep­re­sent­ed in words or illus­tra­tions, make boys from yeshiv­ish fam­i­lies this book’s most appro­pri­ate read­ers. Eric Kimmel’s A Hanukkah Trea­sury is a more appro­pri­ate choice for oth­er audi­ences. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 5 – adult.
Mar­ci Lavine Bloch earned her MLS from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land, a BA from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia and an MA in Eng­lish Lit­er­a­ture from Ford­ham Uni­ver­si­ty. She has worked in syn­a­gogue and day school libraries and is cur­rent­ly fin­ish­ing her term on the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Committee.

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