From new twists to favorite traditions, Hanukkah Lights offers stories that touch the essence of a long-standing celebration: the resurgence of Jewish religion and culture after being forbidden by the Seleucid Empire, which sought to impose Greek values.
The holiday of Hanukkah, or "dedication," stems from the rededication of the temple at Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. As the legend goes, Maccabean fighters who had defeated King Antiochus IV's supporters were left with only a day's supply of oil for the temple — but it lasted for eight days.
While it is not a major holiday — the events marked by Hanukkah took place in 165 B.C., long after the Torah was written — Hanukkah is marked by a wide range of music, the reading of psalms — and food fried in oil, commemorating what is often called a miracle of light.
Hosted by Murray Horwitz and Susan Stamberg, four authors explore Hanukkah traditions in original stories for the 15th version of Hanukkah Lights:
Robin Hemley: "All Good Things are Surprises" — A young boy learns that bigger and brighter things are not necessarily better.
Rachel Lichtenstein: "A Story About Remembering" — A young mother visits an out-of-the-way corner of the world, where she comes to terms with both historical and personal demons.
Thane Rosenbaum: "The Maccabee of Miami Beach" — A down and out retiree gets a dramatic chance at fame — though maybe not fortune — at a Collins Avenue condo complex.
Gloria Goldreich: "Mariamne, the Maccabee Maiden" — A hypnotic tale that's as old as the Hanukkah miracle itself.