Hanukkah, Hellenization, and Hasmoneans


Have you or someone you know ever experienced antisemitism? The story of Chanuka is about how a small group of people stood up to the antisemitism of their era and took back their freedom. For this reason the name Maccabee is so often used as a name that is synonymous with Jewish pride and prowess to represent Jewish sports teams, music groups, and even drinks. This lesson explores how people respond today to religious intolerance by introducing learners to the antisemetic attack that took place in Billings, Montana and the powerful photograph that was taken a year later. Learners then have the opportunity to research the history of Hanukkah celebrations in their own countries, and write about three iconic images that capture the essence of this festival where they live.

The learner will:

  1. understand the differences between physical and cultural antisemitism.

  2. know a variety of reasons why Jews should celebrate Chanukah that go beyond commemorating the past.

  3. be able to formulate a response to a modern day “Antiochus”, who imposed similar antisemitic restrictions.

Unpacked for Educators materials include:

  1. An educator’s guide that  contains many rich components. These are organized under the following titles: 

  • review (questions that relate to the video)

  • discussion

  • activities

  • reflection

  • further learning

  1. A video designed to spark interest in the topic.

  2. A lesson plan (link in the attachment above) that incorporates additional building blocks for the construction of an engaging and interactive lesson.

Computer, Projector, Colored Pens and Pencils, Poster Paper

The website link includes a “further learning” section in the educator’s guide.

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