Hanukkah Games
An Assembly Story for Primary Schools

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When Hanukkah arrives, young Hayyim is extremely excited to celebrate his Jewish heritage. Recalling the history of the Menorah inspires Hayyim to be brave and rely on his own values. He struggles to do this when his older cousin Isaac teases him for making childish decisions. Upset and humiliated, Hayyim is desperate to exact revenge of some kind and upon spotting the game of ‘Spin The Dreidel’ in another room devises the perfect way to do so. The game ensues and Hayyim wins. In Hayyim’s ecstasy, he jumps around- only to reveal his cheating methods in the process. Under his family’s gaze, he begins to crumble until Isaac pipes up with a suitable cover story and picks Hayyim up and celebrates with him. Hayyim’s prize for winning the game is a box of light-up pencils inspired by the Menorah; which he decides to distribute amongst the players- stating that winning the game itself makes him happy enough. He and Isaac share a look and a knowledge that says a lot about family, support, and forgiveness. Isaac’s protecting Hayyim’s mistake is an admission of care and of having wrongfully hurt him earlier on- he is repenting. Hayyim is motivated to the same. Having not listened to his earlier conviction that cheating the game was wrong, he knows now to have more faith. His choice to share out the pencils is an acknowledgement and acceptance that he did not win the game for the right reasons, and, like Isaac- he has learned from his mistake. This primary school assembly story demonstrates the importance of listening to your gut instinct, and maintaining good faith. It also shows children how learning to forgive others is a huge step in growing up, and also in growing closer to others. Hayyim and Isaac’s mutual forgiveness also reassures listeners that it is possible to make amends after wrongdoing- helping them to act on this. Hayyim nearly suffering for his cheating shows listeners also that revenge is not necessarily the best plan as what goes around comes around! The concept of action/reaction ensures children recognise that there are better ways to handle things than with vengeance, encouraging them to first seek forgiveness and peace. This aligns to Jewish teachings about free will, forgiveness and teshuva (repentance) and the suggestion that because God forgives sin, humans should do too. These links to the primary school curriculum for Religious Education help children listening to the assembly to have a more intrinsic understanding of their learnings and open them up to putting these into practice. 

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