The magic of Hanukkah is centered around the idea of cherishing the light, even in times of darkness. During a year in which the light seems ever evasive, it’s these important observations of celebration that allow us to focus on the things we are thankful for — even in the hardest of times.
“At this time of year, when the sun is most hidden, the holiday of Hanukkah celebrates the rays of hope and light,” reads a popular saying by Rabbi Rafael Goldstein. “Often, it is through simple and unrecognized miracles that we are able to feel the warmth of hope and light.”
We’re also spending more time at home right now than possibly ever before, as Americans are cutting down on travel and staying tucked inside to limit our exposure to COVID-19. It’s the perfect time to get cozy with a good holiday movie, and while most of them tend to focus on the celebration of Christmas, there are still quality Hanukkah flicks to watch with a full plate of latkes by your side.
For the kids: “Something From Nothing”
A heart-warming short based on Phoebe Gilman’s award-winning book of the same name, “Something From Nothing” is the animated tale of a young boy named Joseph. When Joseph is born, his grandfather sews him a special blue blanket with white stars whose fabric is cherished by Joseph and his special mouse friend Mazel throughout their lives. A celebration of Jewish culture and values, it’s the perfect thing to watch with the kids this Hanukkah.
For some laughs: “An American Pickle”
Fans of comedian Seth Rogan will love his latest film “An American Pickle,” a dramedy in which he stars as both Herschel Greenbaum and his great grandson, Ben. When Hershel and his wife immigrate to America in 1919, an accident at the pickle factory he works at leads to 100 years spent in a barrel of pickle brine. The film centers around the themes of honoring family across generations, showing how much has changed over time and, also, what has stayed the same.
For all the feels: “All I Want Is Christmas”
In “All I Want Is Christmas” the Christmas-obsessed Ira J. Finkelstein finally gets his wish when he swaps airline tickets with another boy, Mikey, who’s on his way to Christmastown. Through their swap, Ira and Mikey learn what the true spirit of both winter holidays is about.
For the adults: “Eight Crazy Nights”
Don’t let this animated movie trick you — Adam Sandler’s “Eight Crazy Nights” is not for the kids. The film was actually inspired by Sandler‘s famous “The Chanukah Song,” and follows the comedian’s character, an alcoholic criminal, as he gets a much-needed reminder of the Miracle of Hanukkah.
For something in Hebrew: “The Women’s Balcony”
Set in the historic city of Jerusalem, “The Women’s Balcony” is a comedic but respectful film about a devout Jewish community and the rift created between the men and women there after an accident occurs during a bar mitzvah celebration. The entire movie is spoken in Hebrew with English subtitles, and its storyline demonstrates the push and pull of maintaining a modern religious community.
For the romantics: “Mistletoe and Menorahs”
Those looking for classic Lifetime movie romance will find your match and more with “Mistletoe and Menorahs,” a romantic comedy about toy executive Christy, who is tasked with learning everything there is to know about Hanukkah in order to land a big account. Luckily, her colleague Jonathan also happens to be in a pickle — having to turn his bachelor pad into a Christmas wonderland to impress his girlfriend’s father. Cheesy as it may be, the representation of a woman as both the main character and a big time executive is somewhat refreshing, and the movie helps educate viewers on the customs of Hanukkah.
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