Remembering Miriam and Edward Magdol

Miriam Sper Magdol young
Miriam Sper Magdol

The daily news brings me close to tears. I find myself looking for light, for what’s good in the world. Being active on the local level with others who refuse to accept the hate emanating from the White House, and around the world, helps, but it’s hard to shake the feeling of helplessness.

It’s at times like these that I remember my Aunt Mim, to whom I dedicated Hanukkah: A Counting Book in English, Hebrew, and Yiddish.

Hanukkah: A Counting Book
Original 2001 Edition

The dedication reads:
Dedicated in loving memory to Miriam Sper Magdol zl, whose flame will burn on long after her passing.

It’s impossible to remember my Aunt Mim without my Uncle Eddie, the love of her life. Together they fought to make the world a better place. Be it racism, economic inequality, the oppression of workers, or any other social injustice, they spoke out with words or in writing.

Edward Magdol, Navy uniform
Edward Magdol

My Uncle Eddie was an historian of the Civil War and Reconstruction. In the 1970’s at SUNY Potsdam, besides teaching Black Studies, he taught labor and immigration history. If he was alive today, I’m sure he’d be involved with the sanctuary movement. I’m honored to have his books on my bookshelf.

Books by Edward Magdol
Books by Edward Magdol

The black pages of Hanukkah: A Counting Book set off the brightly colored candles as they show through die-cut pages. Some people call it “the black Hanukkah book.” Hearing this, a friend suggested “the colorful Hanukkah book” would be a better moniker. Keeping my aunt and uncle in mind, let’s not lose sight of the colors and keep the flame burning.

Hanukkah Coloring & Activity Book, 2016

In 2016, when I revised Hanukkah Coloring & Activity Book, among seven new activities, I added a tzedakah — charity — page. In the spirit of my aunt and uncle, it’s my way of creating positive change in the world…one candle at time.

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Hanukkah: Counting, Coloring, Card Games

Hanukkah: A Counting Book
Original 2001 Edition

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.

Hanukkah Coloring & Activity Book
2016 Edition

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

hgf_hand_200

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save