Hanukkah Lights for 2011 presents a collection of specially commissioned works — brand-new stories in which a bookish schoolboy finds a troublesome streak of defiance, a young woman finds a rewarding new life while confronting sudden tragedy, and a few desperate men find miraculous comfort in a quiet ceremony of light — all read by Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz, in a program that launches the third decade of this annual holiday favorite.
"Nona Maccabeus" by Gloria DeVidas Kirchheimer
A 90-year-old grandmother responds to a teenaged combo's "Hip Hop Hanukkah" with a bit of musical improv, revealing the holiday's deepest meanings in the process. Kirchheimer's other works include the story collection Goodbye, Evil Eye and the novel Amalie in Orbit.
"Ethics of the Fathers" by Tamar Yellin
At a Hebrew school in the north of England, an insecure 12-year-old discovers new confidence through his own strongest convictions. Yellin, a Yorkshire-based writer, is also the author of the novel The Genizah at the House of Shepher and the collection Kafka in Bronteland and Other Stories.
"First Day" by Elisa Albert
A young woman, while struggling to overcome a troubled past, suffers a tragic loss, yet also finds her way to a newly rewarding life. Albert's highly acclaimed short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies, and in her own collection, How This Night is Different.
"Fidelis" by Erika Dreifus
Two years after Pearl Harbor, exhausted Marines on a tiny Pacific island find hope in a moment of unexpected light. Dreifus is the author of Quiet Americans, a story collection inspired by the experiences of her paternal grandparents, German Jews who immigrated to the United States in the late 1930s.