I wrote a children’s picture book for Jewish kids at Hanukkah time in the 1985 titled “Bubbie and Zadie Come to My House” (and it’s still in print and available from Amazon’s ordering site online) and it begins like this.
If you have young children in your home, you may want to read some of this excerpt to them:
”For as long as I can remember, Hanukkah was always different from all the other holidays my family celebrated.
Potato latkes would be cooking on the griddle…Mother had Hanukkah cookies baking in the oven, too. Outside, in the cold December air, snow would be falling from the night sky, creating a fairyland of shapes on the bushes and trees around our house….
…And what made Hanukkah extra special ever since I can remember is this: Bubbie and Zadie would be coming to visit!
Yes, Bubbie and Zadie. Do you know who they are? Let me give you a hint: their names mean “grandma” and “grandpa” in the Yiddish language.
They have lived for many years, as many years as the moon and the stars. Maybe more－no one knows for sure.They have special magical powers.They are wise and full of advice.They love to tell stories as much an they love to hear stories, especially the story of Hanukkah.
But most important of all, Bubbie and Zadie love children, especially you!
That is why, on the first night of Hanukkah, and during all eight nights of the festive holiday, they visit every Jewish home in the world. Do you know how they can visit so many homes?
Bubbie and Zadie use their magical powers to travel in their own special way. As soon as the sun goes down, they stand at the doorstep of their old brick house.
Beneath a sky full of a million and one stars, and with the Northern Lights glowing above them, they hold hands and close their eyes and say:“Shalom aleichem shalom! Shalom aleichem shalom! Shalom aleichem shalom!”(In the Hebrew language, shalom aleichem means “peace be with you.”)
And then, through a power that is even more mysterious and powerful than that of a jet airplane or an ocean liner, Bubbie and Zadie fly through the air, as if borne aloft by the memories of all the bubbies and zadies that have come before them.
And as they travel, they bring with them special gifts, and the spirit of Hanukkah itself.
Do you know what the spirit of Hanukkah is?
It is when a little boy sits nest to his grandfather and spins the dreidel on the floor, watching to see which letters will turn up: nun, gimmel, hay or shin. All together, they mean “a great miracle happened there.”
And what is the great miracle of Hanukkah? It is a story of old, which we love to tell Bubbie and Zadie when they arrive each year.The spirit of Hanukkah is even more … it is when families gather together to celebrate the special meaning of the Festival of Lights.
It is when a little boy or girl writes a letter to their grandmother or grandfather, or talks to them on the phone wishing them a Happy Hanukkah.
It is a feeling of love and joy, of sharing and thanksgiving. The spirit of Hanukkah is life itself. It is … L’chayim!
What a wonderful celebration we have on this special holiday!
But some grown-ups forget the wonderful spirit of Hanukkah that Bubbie and Zadie bring. Some grown-ups are much too grown-up, and say that Bubbie and Zadie are a fantasy… That is why they don’t even know when Bubbie and Zadie have come to their house.
But children understand, and that is why they love them so much. You might say that Bubbie and Zadie are the grandmother and grandfather of us all.
I remember when I was seven years old. The very first time that Bubbie and Zadie came to my house it happened like this…..”
Yes, you see, more than 35 years ago, I published a children’s picture book in New York titled “Bubbie and Zadie Come to My House” for Jewish children ages 4 to 12 and not only did it sell well nationwide in hardback and paperback, the resulting publicity surrounding the Chanukah-themed book and how it came to be in a magical, lucky way led to newspaper articles in more than dozen papers in the U.S. and Canada. The New York Times wrote about it, the Associated Press wrote about it and the San Francisco Chronicle wrote about it.
I had a savvy publisher Rudy Schur in Manhattan who took a chance on my book again in 2006 and issuing a second edition. But most of all, I thank the children and their parents who read the story when it first came out in 1985, And lo and behold, as if a new kind of miracle has happened, the book is still in print and available in libraries and Jewish museum gift shops nationwide.
Note to readers, children and adults worldwide: If you enjoyed this brief excerpt, and would like to write a letter to Bubbie and Zadie to introduce yourself and your family to them, please feel free write to them online via email at email@example.com and they will get back to you with a nice email message, too. Promise!
Happy Hannukah 2020.