HFVS Heart Of Chanukah Show with Guest DJ, Mama Doni (Podcast/Radio Show)

Listen to Podcast:


The Heart of Chanukah
Mama Doni Guest DJ Show

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
Nov 30th & Dec 1st 2013
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: Title track from new album, “Chanukah Fever: 13 Macca-beats For the Whole Family.”- www.MamaDoni.com


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The Heart of Chanukah hosted with Mama Doni (Doni Zasloff Thomas) Guest DJ Playlist with special guests Millie, Alexander, and Chris Thomas

  • Station Id: Steve Weeks [www.steveweeksmusic.com]
  • Mama Doni- “Chanukah Fever” [Chanukah Fever]
  • Mama Doni- “The Legend of Sour Creeam Vs Apple Sauce” [Chanukah Fever]
  • Graham Clarke- “Five Little Latkes” [American Blue]
  • Kugelplex- “Still Playing For Latkes” [Ceci N'est Pas Klezmer]
  • Groovebarbers- “I Had A Little Dreidel” [Glory]
  • Mama Doni- “La Vida Dreidel” [Chanukah Fever]
  • Tor Hyams- “This is Chanukah” [This is Chanukah]
  • Mama Doni- “The Funky Gold Menorah” [Chanukah Fever]
  • The Hit Crew- “8 Little Lights of Mine” [Kids Happy Hanukah]
  • Alisa Fineman- “Ocho Kandelikas” [Closing the Distance; Poems, Prayers & Love Songs]
  • STORYTIME: “Too Many Latkes,” written & illustrated by Richard Codor, published by Behrman House Publishers
  • Ruby & Ava Lockner- “Is it Chanukah or Hannukah?” [Just One Angel]
  • Mama Doni- “Land of Sufganiyot” [Chanukah Fever]
  • Billy Sherwood- “Rockin’ Hannukah” [Ulitmate Holiday Party Vol 1]
  • Woodie Guthrie- “Hannukah Dance”
  • Michele Citrin- “Pass The Candle” [Lights, Vol 2, A Hanukah Sampler]
  • Craig Taubman- “Maotzur” [Lights Vol 2, A Hanukah Sampler]
  • Mama Doni- “Eight” [Chanukah Fever]

14 Stories Reveal the Mysteries of Harris Burdick

Oprn Drdsmr: Kid Lit Musings and Review by Cheli Mennella

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick Revealed

"Is there any author more mysterious than Harris Burdick? Modesty prevents me from answering this rhetorical question, but the fact remains that Harris Burdick has cast a long and strange shadow across the reading wolrd..." - Lemony Snicket

More than twenty-five years ago, writer and illustrator, Chris Van Allsburg, introduced readers to the strange and mysterious drawings of Harris Burdick. The picture book titled, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, published by Houghton Mifflin in 1984, opens with a short tale about a curious meeting between Peter Wenders and Harris Burdick. While working in his office one day, Wenders, who worked for a book publisher, was visited by Harris Burdick, who had written and illustrated fourteen stories. Burdick brought one picture from each story to see if Mr. Wenders was interested in publishing his work. Wenders was fascinated by the drawings and asked to read the stories right away. Burdick said he’d bring the stories the next day, but was never seen again.

The fourteen black-and-white illustrations, each with a title and caption, are full of intrigue, surprise, and magic. For years, readers have imagined stories to go with these puzzling images.

Now, fourteen writers reveal the mysteries behind each of Harris Burdick’s fascinating drawings. The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, published this fall (2011) by Houghton Mifflin, includes an introduction by Lemony Snickett, the original drawings, titles, and captions by Chris Van Allsburg, and fourteen short stories by fourteen extraordinary writers. The stories are every bit as peculiar, haunting, magical, strange, surprising, creepy, and unpredictable as the original images. From mystical harp music and a levitating nun to intelligent caterpillars and a house taking off like a rocket, these stories are sure to ignite the imagination and leave you spell-bound.

The Mysteries of Harris Burdick illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, stories written by Tabitha King, Jon Scieszka, Sherman Alexie, Gregory Maguire, Cory Doctorow, Jules Feiffer, Linda Sue Park, Walter Dean Myers, Lois Lowry, Kate DiCamillo, M.T. Anderson, Louis Sachar, Chris Van Allsburg, and Stephen King. – Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2011. ISBN: 978-0-547-54810-4


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cheli Mennella

Cheli has been involved with creative arts and education for most of her life, and has taught many subjects from art and books to yoga and zoology. But she has a special fondness for kid’s books, and has worked in the field for more than 20 years. She is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Valley Kids and teaches a course for adults in “Writing for Children.” She writes from Colrain, where she lives with her musician-husband, three children, and shelves full of kid’s books.

HFVS Heart Of Chanukah Show with Guest DJ, Mama Doni (Podcast/Radio Show)

Listen to Podcast:


The Heart of Chanukah
Mama Doni Guest DJ Show

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
Dec 17th & 18th 2011
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: Title track from new album, “Chanukah Fever: 13 Macca-beats For the Whole Family.”- www.MamaDoni.com


New Podcasts ♦ Archived Podcasts Subscribe to Podcast
Radio  Facebook Twitter

The Heart of Chanukah hosted with Mama Doni (Doni Zasloff Thomas) Guest DJ Playlist with special guests Millie, Alexander, and Chris Thomas

  • Station Id: Steve Weeks [www.steveweeksmusic.com]
  • Mama Doni- “Chanukah Fever” [Chanukah Fever]
  • Mama Doni- “The Legend of Sour Creeam Vs Apple Sauce” [Chanukah Fever]
  • Graham Clarke- “Five Little Latkes” [American Blue]
  • Kugelplex- “Still Playing For Latkes” [Ceci N'est Pas Klezmer]
  • Groovebarbers- “I Had A Little Dreidel” [Glory]
  • Mama Doni- “La Vida Dreidel” [Chanukah Fever]
  • Tor Hyams- “This is Chanukah” [This is Chanukah]
  • Mama Doni- “The Funky Gold Menorah” [Chanukah Fever]
  • The Hit Crew- “8 Little Lights of Mine” [Kids Happy Hanukah]
  • Alisa Fineman- “Ocho Kandelikas” [Closing the Distance; Poems, Prayers & Love Songs]
  • STORYTIME: “Too Many Latkes,” written & illustrated by Richard Codor, published by Behrman House Publishers
  • Ruby & Ava Lockner- “Is it Chanukah or Hannukah?” [Just One Angel]
  • Mama Doni- “Land of Sufganiyot” [Chanukah Fever]
  • Billy Sherwood- “Rockin’ Hannukah” [Ulitmate Holiday Party Vol 1]
  • Woodie Guthrie- “Hannukah Dance”
  • Michele Citrin- “Pass The Candle” [Lights, Vol 2, A Hanukah Sampler]
  • Craig Taubman- “Maotzur” [Lights Vol 2, A Hanukah Sampler]
  • Mama Doni- “Eight” [Chanukah Fever]

‘Tis the Season for Stories: 20 Picture Books for Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa

Oprn Drdsmr: Kid Lit Musings and Review by Cheli Mennella

Holiday Books

Open Sesame (photo credit: Cheli Mennella)

‘Tis the season for stories. And what better way to share a story than snuggling up with your favorite kids and turning the pages of a beloved holiday book. Here are twenty suggestions for Solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Some are brand new books and some are not-so-new favorites, but all are sure to get you and your kids into the holiday spirit.

  1. The Polar Express written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg. Published by Houghton Mifflin, 1985. A boy takes a magical Christmas Eve train ride to the North Pole.
  2. Chanukah Lights written by Michael J. Rosen and illustrated by Robert Sabuda. Published by Candlewick, 2011. Follow the Festival of Lights through time and place from Herod’s temple to an Israeli kibbutz, by way of poetry and exquisite pop-ups.
  3. Seven Candles for Kwanzaa written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Brian Pinkney. Published by Dial Books for Young Readers, 1993. Describes the festival of Kwanzaa, its origins and practices, while pictures follow a family through the seven-day celebration.
  4. The Longest Night written by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Ted Lewin. Published by Holiday House, 2009. On the longest night of the year, a crow, a moose, and a fox think they can bring back the light, but it is the song of the chickadee that wakes the sun.
  5. The Third Gift written by Linda Sue Park and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline. Published by Clarion Books, 2011. A boy and his father collect the tears of myrrh trees, then bring them to market, where they sell them to three men who need a special gift for a baby.
  6. The Jolly Christmas Postman Written by Allan Ahlberg and illustrated by Janet Ahlberg. Published by LB Kids, 2001. As the Jolly Postman delivers holiday letters and gifts to fairytale characters readers can join in the fun by finding messages tucked into pocket envelopes.
  7. Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins written by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. Published by Holiday House, 1994. Clever Herschel of Ostropol uses pickles, eggs, and a dreidel to outwit the hill-dwelling goblins and save Hanukkah.
  8. The Little Tree written by E. E. Cummings and illustrated by Chris Raschka. Published by Hyperion books for Children, 2001. A little tree from the country and a little family from the city find each other at Christmastime.
  9. Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story written by Angela Shelf Medearis and illustrated by Daniel Minter. Published by Albert Whitman & Co., 2000. When given the task of turning thread into gold, seven Ashanti brothers embody the principles of Kwanzaa to attempt the impossible.
  10. The Money We’ll Save written and illustrated by Brock Cole. Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2011. When Pa brings home a turkey poult to raise in the family’s 19th century New York City tenement, hilarity and problems arise, but the family pulls together and saves Christmas from being ruined.  Read the rest of this entry »

Music Trekking: Games and Music for Hanukkah

Watch a Little Dreydl Spin!

December is such an exciting time of year as folks prepare for holidays such as Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa. For those who are celebrating Hanukkah or the Festival of Lights, there are goodies to prepare, a menorah to light with it’s eight special candles, relatives to greet and a wonderful little game to play based on a top that spins, called the dreydl (or dreidel).

So why is it called a dreydyl? The word “dreyen” in Yiddish means “to spin” so the name makes perfect sense. The dreydyl song talks about a toy made out of clay and it is certain that the first dreydls were made this way. If you have one today – it is probably made from either wood or plastic. And it will have four Hebrew letters on it. What does each letter mean? Well, it tells the tale behind Hanukkah, how a very small bit of oil that should have lasted only a short time was miraculously able to burn in the Temple for 8 days! It spoke volumes to the Jewish people about how God was able to provide for those who were faithful. If you watch the video, the letters will appear and you can see their meaning as well as how they relate to playing the game.

If you’d like to play the dreydl game at home, you’ll need a pile of goodies. You can use walnuts, candies, pennies or special chocolate coins called Hanukkah gelt (literally, Hanukkah money). Everyone takes a turn spinning the top and they either pass their turn, add a treat to the pot, take half of the pot or take it all. What fun!

Is this a custom your family does around the holidays? If so, why not share it with some friends and teach them about the things you do. If not, what are the special customs that mean the most to your loved ones? Can you share them with your neighbors or friends so they can enjoy them as well.

Whatever holidays you celebrate – may they be bright, beautiful and full of love!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award-winning children’s performer, DARIA (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou) has created 7 cd’s that have won national honors. She has the most awesome job of traveling the world to sing for kids and peace. Her “world music for kids” website, www.dariamusic.com, was given a 2009 Parents Choice Award for its musical and cultural content.  She has also created a multicultural kids video site as well as My Favorite Multicultural Books.

A free copy of this month’s song can be downloaded on Daria’s Monthly Song Page.

The Heart of Chanukah Comes to the Hilltown Family Variety Show

Mama Doni Brings The Heart of Chanukah
to the Hilltown Family Variety Show
On Saturday, Dec 17th, 9-10am

Chanukah is about hope and spiritual light, and it's a time to be with friends and family and celebrate the light in our lives. We eat lots of fried food on this holiday, like latkes (pictured here) and jelly donuts (called sufganiyot) to remember the miracle that happened with the oil, and we play a game called dreidel with Chanukah gelt (small coins, either real or chocolate)!! So much fun!'

Hot on the heels of a tremendously successful summer tour, the fall/winter Mama Doni National Tour has begun! Parents’ Choice Award winner, Mama Doni is thrilled to come home for the holidays, highlighting the Chanukah season with a number of festive concerts in December, and she’ll also be “Guest DJ” for a  special “Heart of Chanukah” radio broadcast of Hilltown Family Variety Show on Northampton radio station WXOJ-LP (Valley Free Radio)  on Saturday, December 17 at  9am and Sunday, December 18 at 7am. 

Looking forward to conveying the joyous spirit of Chanukah in a fun and warm-hearted way on her Hilltown Family Variety Show segment, Mama Doni explains, “The Jewish holiday of Chanukah literally lights up our homes! Chanukah is also called ‘The Festival of Lights,’ referring to the flames that we light on our menorahs on each of the holiday’s eight nights. The story of Chanukah is a celebration of the victory of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple. It also commemorates the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days when there was only enough for one day.

Mama Doni plans a lively program of songs and stories for Chanukah, including musical selections from Sha Na Na, The GrooveBarbers, and Woody Guthrie, along with Mama Doni Band originals, including “Chanukah Fever,” “Latke Man,” and “Honey. This Ain’t Money.”   She’ll also read a Chanukah story,  offer some great family activities for the holiday, and share some of her favorite Chanukah recipes, such as Judah Mac-N-Cheese and Choco-latkes.

Podcast and playlist will be posted to www.HilltownFamilies.org immediately following Saturday’s airing on Valley Free Radio at 10am on Dec. 17th, 2011.

ABOUT DONI ZASLOFF THOMAS

Doni Zasloff Thomas, a.k.a. Mama Doni, is the lead singer/songwriter of The Mama Doni Band, honored with a 2011 Parents’ Choice® Award for their recent release, Shabbat Shaboom, and winner of the Simcha Award for “Inspiring Joy Through Music” in competition with more than 100 bands from 15 different countries at the 2008 International Jewish Music Festival in Amsterdam. The band celebrates Jewish culture with irrepressible zest in its interactive family rock concerts filled with catchy pop songs that break the mold of traditional Jewish music. Quirky, offbeat, and unpredictable, The Mama Doni Band offers up a contagious and unexpected blend of reggae, rock, disco, Latin, klezmer and “Jewgrass” – all woven together with a hip Jewish sensibility. Enthused the Miami Herald, “Not since Woody Allen’s Radio Days has American Jewish youth culture been celebrated with such a sublime mix of silly and substantive.”

Mama Doni’s recordings are available nationwide, as CDs and digital downloads.  Find out more at www.mamadoni.com.

[Photo credit: (ccl) Joshua Bousel)]

Hanukkah in Western MA

Not Your Grandparents' Shtel: Exploring Jewish Culture in Western Mass by Amy Meltzer

Hanukkah in Western MA

One way we celebrate is by displaying all our menorahs, from the fancy one we received as a wedding gift to the ones made by our children in preschool and kindergarten, and lighting at least two each night. (Photo credit: Amy Meltzer)

If you aren’t Jewish, Hanukkah may be the only Jewish holiday you’ve ever heard of. But in fact, it’s a relatively minor holiday. It falls into the surprisingly large category of Jewish holidays which can be neatly summarized as follows: someone tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.

In this case, the “someone” refers to  Antiochus, a ruler in ancient Israel who prohibited the practice of Judaism. A small and unlikely group of Jewish rebels, known as the Maccabees, stood up to the tyrant and ultimately defeated Antiochus in battle. When they retook possession of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the center of Jewish life at the time, they discovered that it had been defiled with idols and pigs. According to tradition, when the Maccabees sought to rededicate the Temple (the word Hanukkah means dedication) they could only find one day’s worth of pure oil to light the menorah, the everlasting light in the Temple. Miraculously, that oil burnt for eight days, long enough for new oil to be prepared. (Looking for a good picture book version of the story? Try David Adler’s new book The Story of Hanukkah.)

Most Hanukkah traditions are connected in some way to the story of the miracle of the oil. In the United States we eat latkes, or potato pancakes fried in oil; in Israel, families make sufagniyot, or jelly doughnuts, also fried in oil. The menorah, or chanukiyyah, is lit each night for eight consecutive nights with candles or, more traditionally, olive oil. And the presents? Well, they don’t really have much to do with the story of Hanukkah. In fact, exchanging presents is a relatively recent phenomenon, most likely popularized because of the holiday’s proximity to another, slightly more well known, solstice-time celebration. One that typically features lots of presents.

Our family’s observance of Hanukkah is fairly modest. Don’t get me wrong – we’re really into holidays, but we make a much bigger fuss over Sukkot and Passover, which are traditionally more significant holidays.  We celebrate by displaying all our menorahs, from the fancy one we received as a wedding gift to the ones made by our children in preschool and kindergarten, and lighting at least two each night (the girls choose which ones). We make these potato latkes (usually only once – way too messy and well, too oily) and play dreidel with M&M’s. We also borrow and bend some traditions from our non-Jewish neighbors, decorating our house with blue lights and homemade decorations and decorating star-shaped cookies (Jewish stars, that is). The kids receive one present each night, with a few annual traditions – one night of  puzzles and/or games that we can do as a family, and one night of art supplies to share. The other nights’ gifts are small items like books and socks.

Some Jewish families feel a little threatened by the enormous appeal of Christmas, and find the need to sell Hanukkah to their children as being as-good-as-or-even-better-than Christmas. I understand the sentiment, but I’m not in favor of  the “we get eight days and they only get one!” refrain.  From my perspective, Hanukkah can’t possibly compete with Christmas, for the simple reason that Christmas is a major Christian holiday (what could be bigger than the birth of Jesus?) and Hanukkah is a minor Jewish holiday. Rather than trying to turn our holiday into something that it isn’t, we take time to enjoy the beauty of our friends, community’s and extended family’s Christmas festivities. We ooh and ahh over the holiday lights, watch the Christmas specials, and attend the Nutcracker. And with a non-Jewish set of grandparents, the girls even get a chance to do something I always wanted to do as a child – help decorate a Christmas tree. Of course, we also invite others to join in our Hanukkah celebrations. After all, what could be better for all of us than more opportunities to add light to our dark winter days? (The answer: more opportunities to add light AND a chance to learn about other cultures.)

There are a lot of wonderful pre-Hanukkah and Hanukkah events this month, including puppet shows, menorah lightings and festive meals. I’m especially looking forward to the conversation about Christmas and Hanukkah with award winning author Anita Diamant (see the December 4 listing below.) This month I’d also like to personally invite you to a party to celebrate the release of my new-(ish) picture book, The Shabbat Princess. Scroll down to December 10th for more details.

UPCOMING HANUKKAH EVENTS IN WESTERN MA (Dec 2nd-23rd, 2011):  Read the rest of this entry »

Online Resources to Discover & Celebrate the Festival of Lights

19 Recommended Chanukka Books for Kids

Family Titles for Chanukka

The National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA recommends the following Chanukka books for kids:

  1. Hanukkah Around the World
    By Lehman-Wilzig, Tami
  2. Hanukkah Haiku
    By Ziefert, Harriet
  3. Hanukkah Lights
    By Martin, David Read the rest of this entry »

Web Review: The Online Menorah

The Online Menorah

CCL (c) HeatherIntroduction to the meaning of Hanukkah and the Hanukkah menorah. Features background about why Hanukkah is celebrated, the basic rules associated with the use of the menorah (what one may use to light the candles, and how one lights the candles), and audio, with English translations, of three blessings that are recited when the candles are lit. Also includes links to more detailed material about Hanukkah. From a Jewish outreach and education group. [(c) LII.org] www.torah.org/chanukah.html

Chanukkah E-Card

The National Yiddish Book Center has cooked up some e-cards, featuring images from Yiddish books in their impressive collection. Send a free e-card to your friends and family for with your own personal message for the holiday. They are offering three different designs:

  • Chanukka Menorah
  • Cooking Latkes
  • Dreydl

The National Yiddish Book Center is located in Amherst, MA. www.yiddishbookcenter.org/e-chanukka

Hilltown Families Discover Hanukkah

Hanukkah in the Hills

(c) Sienna Wildfield - Hilltown Families

Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield


Hanukkah (also spelled Chanukah, Chanukah, Hanukah, Hannukah and Channukahis) is the Jewish Holiday known as the Festival of Lights. For eight days Jewish families kindle the light of a menorah by lighting one of the eight remaining candles every evening.This past Friday evening, hilltown families of mixed spiritual/religious faiths gathered in West Chesterfield, MA, to discover this ancient (over 2,000 years old) Jewish festival. When guests were asked if they knew what other holiday was celebrated on that day, one child shouted out, “CHRISTMAS!” Actually, it’s Shabbat. Two candles were lit, apple juice was served in small cups, blessings were sang and loaves of homemade Challah were passed around for children to tear off pieces of bread.

(c) Hilltown Families

homemade latkes (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Nancy Rothensberg cooked up an endless supply of delicious, homemade latkes (potato and onion pancakes), quickly devoured by everyone with sour cream or apple sauce. For perfect potato latkes, Master Chef Levana Kirschenbaum recommends keeping your recipe dry, thick, hot, steady, lean, white and fresh. Not sure if Nancy followed these guidelines, but they were the best latkes around town!

Upstairs families learn how to play dreidel. Chocolate coins (called gelt) were passed out to all players and Marla BB explained the rules and Hebrew markings on the dreidel. The dreidel is a spinning top with four sides, with each side corresponding to the following Hebrew words:

  • Nun (not) Nothing happens and the next player spins the dreidel.
  • Gimel (gimme) The player takes the entire pot of gelt and the next player spins the dreidel.
  • Hey (half) The player takes half of the pot of gelt and the next player spins the dreidel.
  • Shin (put in) The player puts one piece of gelt the pot and the next player spins the dreidel.

Of course a few younger children had a hard time giving up some or all of their gelt, but the older kids were intent on learning the game and continued playing even after all the adults finished.

Dancing followed with a warm up to Hanukah Bamba from a new Hanukah CD made available from the PJ Library. Later, with Klezmer music playing, the Hora was taught to all. Participants gathered hands in a circle and learned steps to this Israeli folk dance.

Stories were shared at the end of the evening. Marla BB read The Eight Nights of Hanukah and Runaway Dreidel to an interactive crowd of families. Both books were also made available from the PJ Library.

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