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Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Favorite Montana Hanukkah Story--and Resources to Teach It

Hanukkah came early this year (yesterday was the last day), so I'm at least a day late in recommending resources that highlight Montana's special Hanukkah story--but I won't let that stop me.

If your elementary/middle school library doesn't have The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate, by Janice Cohn, illustrated by Bill Farnsworth, (Morton Grove, IL: Albert Whitman, 1995), it should. This picture book is based on a 1993 episode in Billings; when members of a hate group threw a rock through a Jewish family's window during Hanukkah, the community organized in opposition. Over 10,000 Billings residents displayed pictures of menorahs in their windows as an expression of solidarity with their Jewish neighbors.

The Center for Law and Democracy has a lesson plan to use with this picture book.

Other resources include materials The Working Group created to accompany their video, Not in Our Town, which also features Billings residents' stand against racial and religious intolerance. See a five-and-a-half minute clip of the video here.

Paper Candles: How Courage and Goodness Triumphed in an American Town is a play based on the story written for elementary, middle and high school students. 

Happy belated Hanukkah to all.

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