It’s been 15 years since Scholastic Inc. published Hanukkah: A Counting Book in English Hebrew, and Yiddish. In 2011, with over 170,000 copies out in the world (hardback, paperback, and board book), I felt it was time to create a book for older children. The result was Hanukkah Coloring & Activity Book.
Never satisfied, this year I created seven new activities that led to a cover redesign. Now children — and adults — will have even more fun learning key Hebrew words and symbols in the Hanukkah story. There’s even a tzedakah activity to encourage families to donate food and toys to those in need.
Back in 2004, I thought hard to come up with a family activity that would be in the spirit of playing dreidel and complement Hanukkah: A Counting Book in English Hebrew, and Yiddish. One card game grew to three as a way to teach numbers, colors, and Hanukkah symbols in English and Hebrew, the final product being Hanukkah Card Games.
After all my thinking, what did I discover? Playing card games on Hanukkah is an old Jewish custom!
“In all the communities they decreed not to play cards all year long except for Hanukkah and Purim when they allowed it.” —R. Yosef Yuzpe Kashman Segal of Frankfurt, 1718