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Jewesses with Attitude

Judith and the Hanukkah Story

You have probably heard of Judah and the Maccabees, but what about Judith?  At one time, the story of Judith—a young widow who slew the Assyrian general and led the Israelites to victory—was considered an important part of the Hanukkah narrative.

The Book of Judith comes from Apocrypha. Though generally regarded today as a work of historical fiction, many modern scholars assert that the Judith story is an allegory for the events recounted in I and II Maccabees—with Judith representing Judah Maccabee and King Nebuchadnezzar symbolizing King Antiochus. 

For Hanukkah on, we celebrate the biblical Judith as well as a collection of modern day Jewish heroines named Judith.

Do you know a Judith who should be celebrated this Hanukkah? Tell us about her in the comments.

How to cite this page

Berkenwald, Leah. "Judith and the Hanukkah Story." 29 November 2010. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on October 27, 2016) <>.


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