Hanukkah

Content type
Collection
 Woman and man serving themselves at a buffet, Jewish stars in background

A Better Hanukkah Movie, With Plenty of Room for Improvement

Rebecca Brenner Graham

After several attempts, the Hallmark Channel finally carves out a respectable place for Hanukkah . But is this the best we can hope for?

Topics: Hanukkah, Film
Sapir Taib and her Safta

Celebrate the Heroism of MENA Jewish Women on Chag Habanot

Sapir Taib

During Hanukkah, Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) Jews observe Chag Habanot, which celebrates female heroes

Plate of cheese latkes

This Hanukkah, Try Latkes With a Dairy Twist

Savoy Curry

Swap the traditional potatoes for cheese to honor Judith, a badass biblical woman.

Topics: Hanukkah, Recipes
Photograph of Hanukkah candles outdoors collaged on a dark pink background

Celebrating My Patrilineal Jewish Identity with Hanukkah

Ava Weinstein

I wondered, and still do, why it is that I can’t be accepted as a “real Jew” everywhere I go.

Topics: Hanukkah, Ritual, Schools
Collage of Hanukkah cookie decorating kit, Mensch on a Bench, and a Hanukkah Bush.

All I Want for Christmas Is…for It Not to Erase Hanukkah

Savoy Curry

Hanukkah might be over this year, but the problem persists.

Brandi Larsen's Flamingo Menorah

Bringing My Judaism Into the Light

Brandi Larsen

Standing five feet tall, it’s a nod to my late father—go big or go home.

 

Illustrated Figure Holding Star of David in Hands Standing in Righthand Corner

"Jewish Enough": Hanukkah for a Small Town Interfaith Teen

Abigail Gilman

For most of my life, I’ve felt like I’m not Jewish enough.

Libby Stein-Torres from The Ghost and Molly McGee

Libby Stein-Torres joins a growing pantheon of Jewish female cartoon characters

Ariel Finkle

The Ghost and Molly McGee is about to air a Hanukkah episode, and I’m kvelling.

A uterus superimposed over images of Hanukkah items

Hanukkah Blessings for Reproductive Justice

Steph Black

Activist Steph Black offers eight blessings for reproductive justice, one for each night of Hanukkah.

Graphic of Christmas symbols overlaid with a large, shining menorah

Creating Hanukkah Rituals in Quarantine

Ellanora Lerner

In quarantine, I have the unique opportunity to shape holiday celebrations for myself.

Topics: Hanukkah
A man and woman stand in the snow looking at a notepad

Review: Lifetime's "Mistletoes and Menorahs"

Rabbi Leah Berkowitz

Rabbi Leah Berkowitz breaks down her eight favorite and least favorite things about Lifetime's Mistletoes and Menorahs, and talks to screenwriter Guy Yosub.

Topics: Hanukkah, Television

Episode 10: Rededication (Transcript)

Episode 10: Rededication (Transcript)

"Judith Slaying Holofernes" by Artemisia Gentileschi, circa 1614-20 (cropped).

Loving Judith

Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler

Gentileschi’s rendition of Judith is a self-portrait—allowing her to wield a sword and take revenge, if only in fantasy. Judith Slaying Holofernes was the first piece of feminist art that really moved me. Even now, I get chills when I view it. I thought a lot about Judith this week, after dusting off my menorah and dutifully buying candles and gelt.

April Baskin at a Black Lives Matter Hanukkah Action

To Ascend Does Not Mean to Not Speak

Devon Spier

This Hanukkah, I decided to create a holiday blessing of my own––one that draws from Jewish law and Hasidic folk history, while also incorporating contemporary Judaism's call to affirm the lives of women who have been hidden from history. I hope you will recite these words of blessing, and as you do so, recall valiant Jewish women, whose stories deserve to be heard and seen.

Topics: Hanukkah
Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate and Jam (plated).

Hanukkah Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Lisa Yelsey

In honor of a vital, but less well-known, woman taking charge, I’ll be teaching you how to make a dairy dessert. Specifically, a warm and delicious coffee cake to share with your friends and family.

Topics: Recipes, Hanukkah
"Judith Slaying Holofernes" by Artemisia Gentileschi, circa 1614-20 (cropped).

A Feminist Hanukkah

Abby Richmond

Hanukkah is eight days long—a perfect amount of time to express your feminist values! I’ve compiled a list of Jewish, feminist-themed activities for Hanukkah—one for each day of the holiday. To be clear: these activities should be part of your life for the rest of the year, too! But sometimes it’s easy to fall behind, so without further ado, here is your recommended feminist Jewish agenda for this holiday.

Topics: Feminism, Hanukkah
Hanukkah Bush

The Hidden History of Hanukkah

Tess Kelly

We all know the story. The courageous Maccabees, the oil that lasted for a miraculous eight nights. We all know the branded fable, the great tale of Hanukkah that has been recited again and again in synagogues and religious schools forever. But it isn’t the whole story. 

Cover Art for "Judith in the Enemy's Tent"

Judith the Activist

Alicia Jo Rabins

In times of struggle, uncertainty, and fear, we are called to act. In the recent words of Charles Blow in the New York Times, “America needs you … now. Speak up.”

Topics: Hanukkah

Jewish Diversity and Innovation: The View from the Kitchen

Discover how recipes can tell stories about Jewish history and its ever-changing rich cultural diversity.

Rachel by Joseph von Führich, 1836

Hannah's Ghost

Eliza Bayroff

I love Hanukkah. Always have. Eight crazy nights of games, presents, impromptu dance parties to the songs of Jewish musical maestro Paul Zim, and examinations of a stack of illustrated children’s books about the holiday, among them one very special giant-sized coloring book. (When I tell you giant-sized, I mean the length and width of an average toddler.)

"Catching Fire" Movie Poster

Catching Fire this Hanukkah

Avigayil Halpern

I cannot walk out of my house (or open my laptop) without being bombarded with suggestions for Hanukkah (this year, often Thanksgivukkah) merchandise. (Ironically, I am simultaneously presented with ads for “Catching Fire” themed goods, in contrast to the movie’s message.) The Hanukkah narrative has the power to be subversive; it is a story of a minority making themselves heard, of an oppressed group claiming their rights. When those of us who are privileged to be able to buy gifts (and menurkeys) focus on the commercial elements of the holiday at the expense of the holiday’s story, we create a bubble like the Capitol. Hanukkah should be a call to remind us that we should be the districts, not the Capitol; our power should be channeled into fighting injustice, not simply consuming what is provided to us.

Editors note: If you haven’t read The Hunger Games (or seen the movies), you’ll be safe from any major spoilers in this post from one of our Rising Voices Fellows. Be sure to check the JWA blog each Tuesday for a new post from our fellows—and check out the great educational resources provided by our partner organization, Prozdor.

Topics: Hanukkah, Film

An Open Letter to Whoever Finds my Menurkey

Jordyn Rozensky

In 2013 a miraculous thing happened. Thanksgiving and Haunkuah overlapped, and the whole world went crazy. The day was deemed Thanksgivukkah and quickly became a thing of legend. Songs popped up- some genuine, some parodiesWebsites devoted to the day were designed. T-shirts in every shape and size celebrated the day. Even the Mayor of Boston proclaimed the day to be an official holiday.

And I bought a menorah shaped like a turkey—aka a menurkey . 

Topics: Hanukkah

Hanukkah: Ignite and Inspire - Online Learning Program for Jewish Educators

Build connections among Jewish values, trailblazing Jewish women, and the Hanukkah story. This program will provide a new lens for teaching your students about Hanukkah that goes beyond the Maccabees and the candle lighting blessings. JWA staff will model resources and activities that can be put to use as you celebrate the festival of lights.
"Judith Slaying Holofernes" by Artemisia Gentileschi, circa 1614-20

Celebrate Judith; Celebrate Hanukkah

Miriam Cantor-Stone

Last week, JWA led the first online learning program of the year, “Hanukkah: Ignite and Inspire.” We spoke to almost 20 educators from across the country, covering topics from incorporating lessons of Jewish heroines to the challenges of creating a refreshing and relevant Hanukkah curriculum. I was most excited to talk about Judith, a Jewish, Biblical era woman whose story is not included in the Jewish scriptural canon.

Topics: Hanukkah
Microphone

Lauren Interviews Lauren

Lauren Mayer

Singer-songwriter-humorist Lauren Mayer reflects on Hanukkah, Christmas, family, growing up a Jew in Orange County and how all this informs her own, artistic process. May you enjoy this in depth interview conducted by… herself.

What inspired you to write “Latkes, Shmatkes”?

Two years ago NPR did a program on Christmas music, and their expert was talking about how secular songs, like “Frosty The Snowman,” became classics, and then he said, “Some songs should never become classics, like this one”— and used an old recording of mine as an example. It was a novelty song I’d written and recorded years ago, “The Fruitcake That Ate New Jersey,” and when I wrote in to ask how they found it, they ended up interviewing me. I joked that now I was part of the great tradition of Jewish songwriters who create Christmas music, and I really should do a Chanukah album. Once I said it, I realized it could be a fun idea.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox