Celebrate the Jewish holiday with Hanukkah Lights — selected stories commissioned by NPR. In this edition, a young boy learns that bigger and brighter things are not necessarily better; a lonely and alienated immigrant finds hope for the future while searching for potatoes to use in her family's Hanukkah latkes; an aging couple exchange awkwardly ironic Hanukkah presents; two men engage in a lively discussion over the traditions of the menorah and discover the healing power of an argument; and a precious gift leads to the reunion of old friends and a reconciliation of ancient cultures.
'All Good Things Are Surprises' by Robin Hemley
Hemley is the winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship for his work on DO-OVER! He has published seven books, and his stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Chicago Tribune and many literary magazines and anthologies. He is the editor of Defunct magazine. Hemley received his MFA from the Iowa Writers Workshop; he currently directs the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa and lives in Iowa City.
'Potatoes' by Tova Mirvis
Tova Mirvis is the author of two novels: The Ladies Auxiliary, which was a national bestseller published by W.W. Norton in 1999, and The Outside World, published in 2004 by Alfred A. Knopf. Her essays have appeared in various anthologies and newspapers, including The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and Poets and Writers. In 2009, she was named a Scholar in Residence at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute at Brandeis University, and in 2010, she was selected as a Visiting Research Associate at rhe Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center. She has taught expository writing at Columbia College, fiction writing at Gotham Writer's Workshop in New York, and at Grub Street in Boston.
'Gifts Of The Jewish Magi' by Allegra Goodman
Goodman is the author of Intuition, Paradise Park, Kaaterskill Falls, The Family Markowitz and Total Immersion. The Other Side of the Island is her first book for younger readers. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Commentary, Ploughshares, The O. Henry Prize Stories and Best American Short Stories. Her essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The New Republic, The Boston Globe and The American Scholar. Goodman studied English and philosophy at Harvard and received a Ph.D in English literature from Stanford. She is the recipient of a Whiting Writer's Award, the Salon Award for Fiction and a fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced study.
'Two Menorahs' by Daniel Mark Epstein
Daniel Mark Epstein is a biographer, poet and dramatist whose work has been widely published and performed. In the 1970s, his poetry first appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly and The New Republic. His first volume of poems was published by Liveright in 1973. In 1978, he received the Prix de Rome for his poetry and dramatic works. In the 1980s, he wrote Sister Aimee: The Life of Aimee Semple McPherson, now in its fourth printing. His biography Nat King Cole was a 1999 New York Times Notable Book, reviewed on the cover of the New York Times Book Review, and his biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay was a New York Public Library Honoree, "Books to Remember" for 2001. The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage was named one of the Best Books of 2008 by both The Wall Street Journal and The Chicago Sun-Times.
'My Hanukkah Gift' by Farideh Goldin
Farideh Goldin is the author of Wedding Song: Memoirs of an Iranian Jewish Woman. Farideh was born in Shiraz, Iran, to a family of dayanim, judges and leaders of the Jewish community. Farideh's family moved out of the mahaleh, the Jewish ghetto, to a Muslim neighborhood when she was 8. There, she experienced both friendship and anti-Semitism. Later, attending an American-style university in Iran, she was torn between her loyalty to her family, who obeyed strict social, cultural and religious mores, and a Western education that promoted individualism and self-reliance. Wedding Song reveals Farideh's struggle in balancing her two worlds.
All music breaks performed by Giora Feidman:
- "Rivkele, Si Shabesdike/Der Hoyfzinger Fun Varshever Ghetto"
- "Let's Be Cheerful, Said The Rabbi"