This is Vox Tablet, the weekly podcast of Tablet Magazine, the online Jewish arts and culture magazine that used to be known as Nextbook.org. Our archive of podcasts is available on our site, tablet2015.wpengine.com. Vox Tablet, hosted by Sara Ivry, varies widely in subject matter and sound -- one week it's a conversation with novelist Michael Chabon, theater critic Alisa Solomon, or anthropologist Ruth Behar. Another week brings the listener to "the etrog man" hocking his wares at a fruit-juice stand in a Jersualem market. Or into the hotel room with poet and rock musician David Berman an hour before he and his band, Silver Jews, head over to their next gig. Recent guests include Alex Ross, Shalom Auslander, Aline K. Crumb, Howard Jacobson, and the late Norman Mailer.
Forget Spelling It: Most of Us Have No Idea What This Holiday Is Even About
When some of the Tablet staff started talking about Hanukkah, it became apparent how little we could assert about the holiday’s particulars. Some knew it involved violence. Others that there was eight days’ worth of oil to light a menorah. Still others that the word “Hanukkah” means dedication. But how did those elements fit together in an origin story?
To find out, we asked Tablet readers and friends to send in their take of the Hanukkah story. Many people obliged us—you can find a terrific mash-up of their answers here:
And we had winners! Joanna Brichetto sent us the best response, though Henry Alford gets a shout-out for humor; David Tuchman for poetic invention; and Miriam Newman for being so knowledgeable at the tender age of 8. (These four winning entries are available for listening below.)
Then, we sought out an expert, Alfred Ivry, a professor of Jewish philosophy and father of Vox Tablet host Sara Ivry, to help clear up collective confusion.