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Hanukkah Stories

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that starts on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November-late December on the secular calendar.  It is celebrated for eight days and nights. In Hebrew, the word “hanukkah” means “dedication.” The holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.

Hanukkah Stories

  • The Hanukkah Story
    The story of Hanukkah begins in strife. Antiochus, a Greek who was king of Syria, marched with an army of soldiers into the kingdom of Judea, home to many Jews. He insisted that the Jews worship the Greek gods rather than the one God they worshipped. When the Jews refused to worship the Greek gods, the soldiers attacked the Temple in Jerusalem and killed countless Jews…
  • The Hanukkah Lights Tale – Narrated

    Many years ago, began the First Hanukkah Light, the Jews lived in the Land of Israel. They had no king at that time, for their king was G-d, the King of kings. Unfortunately many Jews stopped serving G-d, and so they soon found themselves in the servitude of a human king.

  • I’m All Right

    A soldier fighting in Iraq pays a surprise night time visit to his mother during the holiday to say goodbye. 

  • A Special Gift

    On the third day of Hanukkah, there was a bris in Boro Park, Brooklyn. The Bobover Rebbe was the sandak—being honored to hold the baby on his lap—and he told this story at the bris.

  • Hanukkah Stories

    Humerous stories written by Yoni Brenner and published in the Shouts and Murmurs section of the New Yorker. 

Jewish Folklore

A collection of Jewish folklore from around the Internet.

  • The Tree that Absorbed Tears
    A daughter married and moved to a distant village to live with her husband. The life of the girl was very bitter. She had no luck and what luck does not give also mind cannot change. Once the mother visited her daughter. She saw how terrible her life was. She wanted to talk with her, but was afraid to do it at home in case the husband will hear. So, she asked her daughter to go out with her. They went and went until they arrived at the nearest forest.
  • The Purse of Gold 
    A beggar found a leather purse that someone had dropped in the marketplace. Opening it, he discovered that it contained 100 pieces of gold. Then he heard a merchant shout, “A reward! A reward to the one who finds my leather purse!”
  • Defending His Property
    One day, an innkeeper came to Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev. “Rabbi,” he said. “Is a man permitted to defend his property?”  The rabbi said, “Of course. What needs defending?”  “My inn,” said the man. “So you’ll give me your blessing?”  “That depends. Who are you defending it against?”  “Rabbi, the local peasant boys break into my kitchen at night, to steal the food that I keep for my customers.”

  • The Three Laughs
    Once, the disciples of the Baal Shem Tov decided to prepare him a special Sabbath. They worked for days to make sure that everything would be just as it should be, so that the spirit of the Sabbath would descend as it never had before.

  • The Clotheslines
    This tale is about a woman who lived in the Old City of Jerusalem about a century ago. Washing clothes for a family then was a chore of almost unimaginable difficulty. So after six hours of backbreaking labor, this pious housewife hung her laundry out to dry in the sun, on two clotheslines that were stretched between poles and went the whole length of the courtyard.

  • Loosening the stopper
    Rabbi Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev’s grandchild married the grandchild of the famous rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi. “Now that we are related by this marriage,” said Rabbi Schneur Zalman, “let us join in performing a good deed. An innocent Jew is being held by the local authorities. Let us take up a collection, to give the officials the sum they demand for his release.”

S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser

S.E. Schlosser is the author of the Spooky Series published by Globe Pequot Press. She has been telling stories since she was a child, when games of “let’s pretend” quickly built themselves into full-length tales acted out with friends. A graduate of both Houghton College and the Institute of Children’s Literature, Sandy received her MLS from Rutgers University while working as a full-time music teacher and a freelance author.