A Festival of Light – One Family’s Hanukkah Story

By Paul Small and Josh Freeman

It seems our core human values often get shortchanged in search of the next “like.” Faith and Freedom are caricatures. Peace and Love generic slogans. Courage is hooted off stage, Integrity gets barely a mention. Charity only comes up during the holidays and Knowledge, poor knowledge, is trumped in favor of “soundbytes.”

But those eight words do have real meaning. They can shape a young person’s character and can affect the way we interact with our family, our community, our world. Think of those eight words again. Speak them out loud. Feel their power.

Faith. Freedom. Courage. Love. Charity. Integrity. Knowledge. Peace.

Those eight words are at the center of a Hanukkah service that my great uncle, American Playwright Dore Schary (the only writer to ever run a film studio), originally wrote and published in 1950. Dore, the former National Chairman of the Anti-Defamation League, wrote to fill a deeply felt personal need for his own family and sought to make Hanukkah a beautiful and meaningful experience in his own home.

Hanukkah means rededication, and the holiday itself represents the rededication of the Temple that was dishonored by Antiochus IV in 168 B. C. E. and then restored by the valiant struggle of the Maccabees. However, in a much larger sense this occasion should be a rededica¬tion of all the things that we hold dear in our Jewish and American life.

That’s why our family has come together to create A Festival of Light, a beautiful 140- page pictorial Coffee Table Book designed to help families bring new meaning and joy to the festival of Hanukkah.

Beyond Dore’s original essays, which remain the heart of our book, we selected more than 70 quotes from contemporary and iconic cultural thought leaders to help broaden our understanding of each night’s word. Additionally, we expanded the scope of the book by commissioning an original photo shoot and by curating imagery, quotations, recipes, musical playlists and personal Hanukkah stories that give new context for today’s world.

For many, Hanukkah is considered a minor holiday — charming, nice while the kids are young — but nothing like Passover, Yom Kippur, or gulp, Christmas.

But what if Hanukkah was an occasion to share a rich, evocative set of values – one for each night? What if, as you lit the candles, you could create conversations that resonated for a lifetime? What if Hanukkah related to our fractious modern life?

That is our hope for A Festival of Light.

Download a free copy of Dore Schary’s Hanukkah service: http://bit.ly/hanukkahservice
Learn more about A Festival of Light at Kickstarter: http://bit.ly/spreadlight
Stay in touch with us on Facebook: http://facebook.com/8nights8words

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