The Different Faces of Chanukah


On Chanukah we celebrate the victory of the Maccabees over the Greeks and the miracle of the oil lasting for eight days. How do these two facets of the holiday allow for different ways of connecting to it on national and personal levels? In this resource, learners will compare and contrast the historical description of the military victory recorded in the Book of Maccabees and the Talmudic account of  the miracle of the oil jug. Using a comparative template (see attachment below), learners will discuss how each narrative contributes to their understanding of the story from a national perspective, as well as to their own personal connection to the holiday.

The learner will:

  1. Understand how the Chanukah story contains different narratives that reflect and convey different emphases and messages

  2. know alternate descriptions of the Chanukah story from primary sources

  3. be able to compare and contrast the versions of the Chanukah story and explain how this enables them to connect more authentically  to the holiday

When you click on the Jewish Education by Design resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:

  1. Essential questions that get to the “heart” of the learning

  2. A hook/s to open the lesson in an engaging fashion and spark the learners’ curiosity

  3. In depth discussion questions that are designed to elicit conceptual thinking and personal reflections about the featured source/s

  4. Suggested activities that enable the students to both process and apply what was learned in a thought provoking and creative fashion

  5. A further study option/s to related materials on the JEBD site or to external links

Student handouts

Discover more sources that record additional aspects of the holiday story from a historical perspective, such as the texts from the Books of Maccabees I and II, that appear in the Heroism and Hellenism resources, respectively.

Welcome to UnitEd's new website!

Our website is just starting its journey,  and we'll be adding new content, features, and resources regularly.

We invite you to return to our website and follow its growth!