When I was growing up the Jewish holiday of Chanukah was considered a simple 8-day celebration with family, a few dreidels and a menorah (Chanukiah). By the time I had children of my own – Chanukah became a multi- zillion dollar industry! Why the change?
Many believe it is because of more and more interfaith families. Others think that parents wish to provide for their Jewish children an experience akin to families who celebrate Christmas.
So, when the Elf on the Shelf – a little elf doll from “Santa’s workshop”, made its’ debut a few years ago – it became quite the media and marketing sensation. Now enter the Maccabee on the Mantel, a plush toy with a storybook. At first I was a bit skeptical – was this another way for someone to market to interfaith families?
As an educator who for a decade taught Judaics in a Jewish Sunday School, I was pleased to see an educational book that told the story of Chanukah and also included a song and blessings. Then I went on to the website and learned a whole lot more from “behind the scenes”. The Maccabee on the Mantel is the brainchild of Abra Liberman-Garrett, and mom of two. The website offered this as a reason for her creation:
…And so she conceived the concept of a disarming and charming Macabee, a little boychick who would spread sunshine and delight to all the Jewish children who had him in their home. Abra’s children positively reveled in the joy of this modern tradition in the making. Now it is time to share this miracle of a Macabee with all those who are looking to create a fun family custom of their own.
For parents wishing to help share their Jewish culture, history and religious insights – this website is a welcome addition. I usually would put an age rating on a review – but this unique box set could be for young and old. The price is set for the box set – $34.95 on their website. Extra Maccabees and books can be purchased separately. Click here for their online store.
For additional fun go to Youtube and check out the videos from the “Maccabee on the Mantel”.