By: Nancy Rips
Publisher: Frederick Fell Trade, Inc.
Publication Date: August 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: September 27, 2011
Thought-provoking, heartwarming, lovely - these are not adjectives that many reviewers have been able to utilize in the past few months (or more). Not very often does a book come along that that is a true celebration of life and a holiday that is based on the courage, strength, and faith that one family had. The Maccabees redeemed and rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem thousands of years ago - a victory of the few over the many. “Not by power or by might, but by spirit” is the mantra that is spoken in synagogues every year when remembering this small band of Jews who stood up to the mighty Syrian-Greek Empire.
Nancy Rips has taken the time, love, and attention to gather one hundred and one stories from people in all walks of life. These contributors have offered serene stories that are personal moments, memories, recollections, and are triumphs that show the true and utter love and belief they own for their faith, families, and what Hanukkah is all about.
To take snippets from this incredible book, there are contributors who tell a tale of how their Poppa would, every year, begin a conversation of how his favorite cap was given to him by Czar Nicholas, himself. He would awe and impress his beloved daughter, who stared at Poppa with stars in her eyes and the light of love in her heart. Poppa would give a special treasure every year, until the treasure had to shift as 1944 came about and an evil began to walk the earth. Another spoke of a true Hanukkah miracle when they were headed to a store and received an email saying they needed to head somewhere else. If they had continued in the original direction before receiving that email, their entire life would have been gone in the blink of an eye - a tale that truly shows miracles can happen.
From quotes of love - from tales big to small - every contributor spoke frankly and in rich detail about memories that spanned from humor, to romance, to fun. There are historical points and lessons regarding Hanukkah as well as Christmas, and stories about how each holiday is celebrated in various countries around the globe. Ireland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Buenos Aires, and more, are included as the contributors tell their tales about what it means to celebrate freedom and faith. Even the heartbreaking story of Iran is mentioned, and how in this modern day and age Hanukkah is only a wishful dream. We also read of a Congresswoman who relates a tale of pure bliss and her own brilliant singing voice from an evening she will never forget.
One of the grandest tales that will most likely stand out for all readers is no more than a paragraph in length. This truly poignant tale speaks volumes about the love of a Grandmother, and the special latkes she made every year to celebrate the glorious holiday. This author has done a stunning job of embracing readers and the true miracle of what Hanukkah is all about.
In a frightened, wary world, this is the one title you want to make sure to have on hand in EVERY household, no matter what your celebration is called. And, in addition, the recipes for various latkes given in the back of the book are truly mouth-watering.
Quill Says: A collection of stories that embrace, define, and enfold readers in a wonderful warmth that they won’t soon forget.
To learn more about Hanukkah Stories, please visit the author's website at: www.nancyrips.com