“Play”-ing the Chanukah Story

This week the children in Nitzanim (“Buds,” for first and second grade children) are hearing the Chanukah story with three different endings! The endings come from First Maccabees, Second Maccabees and the Talmud (Shabbat 21b).

Nitzanim children listened to the story during kibud (snacktime), with each ending on a different day. Together with Morah Shterna they brainstormed a list of what they would need to act out the story: characters, backdrops, props, costumes, etc. We gave them a short time frame in which to gather or create these items, sometimes as little as 15 minutes!

They divided up into two groups — one with Morah Shterna, the other with Morah Elisheva — and scurried around the yetzirah studio and the building. They covered trays with aluminum foil to make Maccabee shields. They created a menorah out of yellow cardstock and blue painter’s tape. Two large plastic vases and a wooden shelf became an elephant. A table covered in black fabric transformed into a hidden cave in the mountains of Judea.

When time was up we gathered in the Ringel Room to perform! Some children opted to be in the audience. A morah or madrich read the story with the specific ending for that day while the children acted it out.

Ask your Nitzanimer, “What was your role in the Chanukah play? What did you create for the play? What are the different endings all about?” Please email me (Morah Elisheva) at elisa@jewishenrichment.org. I want to know what they tell you. Thank you and Happy Chanukah!

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