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From Teheran to Charkov, from frozen Siberia to futuristic LA, from the Holocaust to a South African prison -- Chanukah stories that illuminate our lives

Chanukah Stories

Chanukah Stories

Tales of Light

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As the Siberian winter deepened, Chanukah came, and a group of young Jewish prisoners convened for a short meeting.
The Hechts, who had no idea the Rosernbergs were on their way, lived a mile or two away. The Rosenbergs for 40 minutes, maybe an hour.
I don’t know what happened. I opened up my eyes and stared straight up at the dark, starry sky. Why was I flat on my back on the sidewalk? Where was I?
He listened quietly, then handed me a brochure. “There’s a seminar coming up on Chanukah, in Crown Heights, in Brooklyn. It’s for college students and others. You stay with a family over Shabbat. You might want to go.”
We are getting ready for the New Year at school. There is a huge Christmas tree in the auditorium, decorated with balls and garlands. During the day we practice for the end-of-year concert, where I play a “snowflake”—just like all the other Russian girls. But I can’t wait for the nighttime, when a different holiday will enter my life—the one I don’t talk about in school. It’s my Chanukah . . .
It wasn’t easy to be a commercial pilot and a religious Jew at the same time, but Mordechai somehow managed. He was familiar with at least one rabbi in each city on his route, and tried his best to help them out, bringing kosher supplies and even Torah scrolls to isolated congregations.
One man’s search for his buried treasure.
Surrounded by strangers, he was afraid to strike a match or recite a blessing for fear of calling undue attention to himself and his family.
While in the forest, thieves came upon me, took all my money and said they were going to kill me...
Nearly three years ago I decided to drop Judaism entirely. I was fed up with the entire venture.
I was walking by the waterfront, and a young man in a black hat ran up to me and politely asked, “Excuse me, are you Jewish?”
Something was strange about the scene. Who was he, and what connection could he possibly have with this place?
In September 1990 I went off to defend a country that I was prohibited from entering. The “Jewish” on my dog tag remained as clear and unmistakable as the American star on the hood of every Army truck . . .
It didn't blow out, there was no smoke, it just was not there anymore. It was as if it just flew off...
The candles are burning low and he is staring at them. Flame meets flame and a soul ignites . . .
"It's Chanukah," cried Nachman, "the festival of miracles! We'll do the mitzvah the way it should be done. Not in some rusty can fished out from the garbage..."
Night was when a creature's true colors were revealed, they use the cover of darkness for their darkest deeds
He slowly tries lighting the fourth and fifth. I close my eyes for the miracle, but there is none.
During the Iranian occupation of the American embassy, Rabbi Hershberg was scheduled to travel to Iran
There are 50 states in the US, said the Rebbe, and all but one allowed Jewish inmates to light Chanukah candles
My best friend was a girl of my age named Jeanette. One morning when I came to play, I saw her family being forced at gunpoint into a truck. I ran home and told my mother. “Don’t worry,” she said, “Jeanette will be back soon . . .”
My very own roommate, Jen, the Japanese-American, looked at me and said, loud and clear, "Bad Jew… off to the showers with you!"
She is a small woman, barely five feet tall. Her two feet tall candelabra was more than just a candle-holder
It was just a postcard with a simple message, but to me it was a wonderful Chanukah present
He climbed up the steep mountainside, searching for help. It was an arduous climb, particularly because of the scorching sun
My father's version is both melodic and mournful, complete with crashing crescendos and lilting liturgy. It is emotionally evocative of both the highs and lows in Jewish history...
My Chanukah Lesson
Something was wrong. Almost in slow motion, I looked at the floor, and realized that it was glistening unnaturally.
Lighting Menorah with Gorbachev
And as the interpreter translated those words into Russian, Mikhail Gorbachev blushed.
Gently, the doctor breaks the devastating news to Debbie that Mark probably won't survive.
A family goes for a visit to a seniors' residence supplied with a menorah and holiday treats
Yoni Walz found a Chanukah haven in a Connecticut suburb, by surprise and with a little help
Truly special moment for an Israeli Defense Forces veteran and his family
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