Like a Maccabee

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Like a Maccabee book coverWhat the Book is About:

Ten-year-old Ben’s got a lot on his mind in this Hanukkah-themed easy reader chapter book. He’s worried about facing his nemesis in his upcoming soccer championship game: Travis “the Tank” is not only the intimidating defender of the other team, he’s also the school bully. To make matters even more complicated, Ben’s aging grandfather has recently relocated from Chicago ­– right into Ben’s bedroom.  Ben feels misunderstood and anxious until he is inspired by his grandfather’s Hanukkah stories to stand up to Travis like a Maccabee.  Young sports fans will enjoy reading this sweet and heartwarming story.

Jewish Content and Values

  • Ben’s family celebrates Hanukkah by eating latkes and fried doughnuts, playing dreidel and lighting the menorah.
  • Since Ben’s grandfather has come to live with them, Ben’s family lights Shabbat candles and recites a short prayer before dinner.
  • Ben’s grandfather narrates the story of the Maccabees and the Miracle of the Oil after they light the menorah as a family.

Positive Role Models

  • Ben begins the story as a somewhat self-centered, anxious child with a defeatist attitude. Inspired by the heroics of the Maccabees, he finds the courage to stand up to Travis, and the maturity to welcome his grandfather into his life.
  • Ben’s grandfather is sensitive to his grandson’s feelings about sharing his room and makes a real effort to connect with him and encourage him to reach his soccer aims.

Content Advisory


Talk it Over

Do you think Ben was right to stand up to Travis? Do you think Ben was smart to stand up to Travis?  What are some other good ways to deal with a bully? Is there anyone in your life who acts like Travis? 

More For You

In Israel, soccer is called Kaduregel (football) and it’s the most popular sport to play and to watch.  Beitar Jerusalem and Maccabi Haifa are the teams with the most loyal fan base, although the team with the most championship wins is Maccabi Tel Aviv. Eran Zahavi, a star player on the Israeli national team, used to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv.  

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