Hanukkah Around the World

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This tour of Hanukkah includes information on its historical significance and the ways in which it is celebrated in places like New York City, Turin, Sydney and Warsaw. After an introductory section about the history, terminology and customs associated with the holiday, the book features a story of a child living in each city. Each section explains how he or she will celebrate the holiday and offers brief historical summaries of Judaism in each region as well as recipes for dishes like burmelos, precipizi and latkes. The informative sections are nicely balanced against the more festive elements. Ages 8–11. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
This book is fun! North American Ashkenazi Jews often feel that the way they (we) celebrate holidays, tell stories, and sing songs is the only way/the best way/the real way to do them. But it's not, and after reading this book I think everyone will be ready to cook something new, play a different game, sing a different song. After a quick history lesson, we are told a couple of things that I didn't know—"Store your candles in the freezer to make them for longer". And for lighting the Hanukkah candles, in Sephardi households, "only the head of the household lights the hanukkiah". The "Hanukkah-Israel connection" is made much more clear—"once again, a small number of Jews relied on strategy not one, but many mighty armies surrounding them." Then we take a virtual trip around the world. In Israel, the city of Modi'in holds an annual relay race from Modi'in to Jerusalem in which a torch is passed from one runner to the next. In New York City, a family does "something different every day" of Hanukkah—a night to bake cookies, a music night, a movie night, a night to give to charity, a night to invite friends for a sleepover, and a night to exchange gifts. In Istanbul, we get a new song ("Ocho Candelas") and a new recipe for "burmelos"—fried fritters. In Samarkand,Uzbekistan, "it is customary for sodas to bring their families to their parents' homes to celebrate the first night of the holiday." We get a little vocabulary lesson (Bivi, grandmother, and Bobo, grandfather) and a recipe for jarkoff, traditionally served on the holiday. From Turin, Italy, there is a link between Tisha b'Av and Hanukkah—the first being sad, the destruction of the Temple, and the secondbeing the joyful rededication. The recipe is for Precipizi a honey-covered sweet. In Australia Hanukkah comes in the summer, so the recipe is for a New York Blizzard, a vanilla ice cream/milk combination. In Warsaw Poland, we get potato latkes; in Nabeul, Tunisia, we don't get a recipe, but we do learn about the Festival of the Daughters. The book concludes with a Hanukkah Potpourri and a nice glossary. Recommended. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4–Introductory pages describe the origins of the holiday, while subsequent short chapters depict traditions in various Jewish communities through fictional stories, brief historical sidebars, and recipes. Represented countries include Israel, the United States, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Italy, Australia, Poland, and Tunisia. While children will be interested to see how Jews in various parts of the world celebrate differently while maintaining the core Hanukkah traditions, there is a formulaic quality to this book that undermines its success. The fictional stories feel contrived and in more than one case raise questions that are left unanswered, e.g., why do Jews in Australia celebrate Hanukkah during the summer? What happens at the end of the story of Judith? In addition, several of the recipes are presented without any explanation of their origin or relation to the holiday. Densely colored illustrations are generally appealing, particularly the attractive full-page maps that accompany each section. Even so, the unevenness of this offering makes it merely additional.–Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Hanukkah traditions from several countries are outlined in this compilation of lesser-known commemorative customs. A generic history of the holiday is followed by eight fictional short stories related to a specific city around the world. From a torch relay in Modi'in, Israel, where the Maccabees' struggle began, to a concert in Istanbul sung in the Sephardic language of Ladino, to a summery outdoor celebration in Sydney, to a Samarkand, Uzbekistan, custom of dancing for eight nights in different homes, the stories relate unique practices. Sidebars include each city's past and present Judaic presence and influence as well as recipes. Wehrman's soft muted paintings, which sketch out maps, traditional dress and foods, add a further instructional element to the fictional prose. A "Hanukkah Potpourri" offers one-paragraph descriptions of ten additional observances. (glossary) (Picture book. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822587620
  • Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/28/2009
  • Series: Hanukkah Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 984,925
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.63 (w) x 10.51 (h) x 0.14 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Want to learn more about the Jewish festival of Hanukkah?

    What does Hanukkah mean to Jewish people? Author Tami Lehman-Wilzig discusses the origin of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah and some of the standard practices that go with celebrating it, such as spinning the dreidel. Then she takes the reader to various places throughout the world where Jewish people live, such as the United States, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Italy, Australia, Poland, Tunisia, and of course Israel, to give some historical background and then describe many of the local customs that have arisen in the observance of Hanukkah. Also, there are recipes for several Hanukkah treats. At the end, a "Hanukkah Potpourri" section and a glossary to explain many of the words used provide additional information. This is a good resource to explain Hanukkah especially for Jewish students but also for anyone interested in learning more about this Jewish festival.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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