3 Hanukkah Cartoons for Your Festival of Lights
Whether Hanukkah is a long standing tradition in your household or you’re a Festival of Lights newbie, there’s nothing like a good holiday flick to get you in that festive mood.
While a full eight days of gelt, latkes, and presents are plenty to keep you occupied, it’s easy to overlook the miracle behind the menorah in your downtime. In between the more traditional activities, consider popping in one of these Hanukkah films for younger kids. It’s a fun way for your children to dive a little deeper into the holiday on screen…and a nice, relaxing break for you.
So grab a plateful of fried goodness, prop up your feet, and enjoy!
Believe it or not, one of the best holiday specials on the story of Hanukkah came from a 90s television cartoon about talking babies. Rugrats munchkins in this episode reenact the tale of the Maccabean revolt and the miraculous oil lamp that remained lit for eight days when it only had oil enough for one.
This is probably the most straight-forward, easy-to-understand way to explain the Hanukkah story to small children. However, it’s just as entertaining as it is informative. The cheeky babies and hilarious grandparents are all charming characters. It’s a story that will have your children entranced and excited.
This Disney classic is about a Jewish family of mice fleeing persecution in Russia, as many Jewish humans really did, in the 1880s. The story opens on the family celebrating Hanukkah and traces their tale across the sea to a new life in America. Much like the tale of the Jewish people, the Mousekewitz are an exiled people, but in the film they regain their sense of true home.
Although the film isn’t completely centered around Hanukkah, opening the film with the celebration roots the family in Jewish tradition, and gives a Jewish context to the rest of their story through the film. The tale itself is about abandonment and reunion, which opens plenty of discussions with your children about what it means to be Jewish.
Yes, it’s another animated children’s film, but the length of the movie gives the characters a chance to hear and tell the story of Hanukkah fully, explaining all the traditions surrounding the menorah, the dreidel and even latkes. Anything you wanted to know about Hanukkah is all right here!
This is a layered children’s film that, in spite of being an animated tale, does a great job putting Hanukkah in a Jewish context. In the times of the Maccabees, Jews were expected to assimilate into the Greek culture, and it was their religious mandate not to do so. The main message of the film is about how special it is to be different, even in a world where it seems like it’s not okay to be different. What a timely message for us all.
What are some of your favorite Hanukkah films?
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