Tuesday, December 1, 2015


This December, take a break from dreidel spinning, gelt winning, and latke eating to experience the joy of Chanukah. When you fall in love during the Festival of Lights, the world burns a whole lot brighter.

It’s definitely not love at first sight for Amanda and her cute but mysterious new neighbor, Ben. Can a Chanukah miracle show them that getting off on the wrong foot doesn’t mean they can’t walk the same road?

Lawyers in love, Shari Cohen and Evan Sonntag are happy together. But in a moment of doubt, he pushes her away—then soon realizes he made a huge mistake. To win her back, it might take something like a Chanukah miracle.

When impulsive interior designer Molly Baker-Stein barges into Jon Adelman's apartment and his life intent on planning the best Chanukah party their building has ever seen, neither expects that together they just might discover a Home for Chanukah.

All Tamar expected from her Israel vacation was time to hang out with one of her besties and to act like a tourist, cheesy t-shirt and all, in her two favorite cities. She definitely was not expecting to fall for Avi, a handsome soldier who’s more than she ever dreamed


‘A Home for Hanukkah Playlist’

By Stacey Agdern

Friends have always joked that my playlist is my outline.  And when I think about it, I realize that a simple joke is actually truth.  I say that all I need to start, is an idea of where I’m headed and who my characters are.  But that’s not true.  I also need at least the beginnings of my playlist.

The playlist for ‘A Home For Hanukkah’, a story that comes out today  as part of the Burning Bright anthology, was pretty important.  Especially considering the hero works in the music industry, and music isn’t just his job, but part of who he is as a person.  Music always plays around him, and he’s very particular about what music he plays.  This is something the heroine notices not very long after she’s gotten into his car for the first time.  The car itself is horrible, but the stereo system is top notch.

You’d think that this playlist would be all Chanukah music, all the time.  And you’d be wrong.  Mostly because even though I love Chanukah music, the most prominent Chanukah song that appears in the story doesn’t even exist… except in my own head.  ‘Modern Day Maccabees’ is loud, raucous and insane, full of pride and guitars.  And no, I won’t ever sing it.

So what’s on the playlist that I actually listened to while writing ‘A Home for Hanukkah?’  I’ll break it down for you by genre.

1.Contemporary Jewish Music –Artists like Gad Elbaz, Stacy Beyer, Rick Recht  and the Maccabeats are all Jewish artists.  But each of them bring something different to the table.  Elbaz fuses Hebrew lyrics with pop (Chelek Mimeni) and reggaeton (Halayla zeh Hazman).  He also does an amazing version of a song that Marc Antony is popularizing at the moment ( Hashem Melech).   Stacy Beyer infuses Hebrew and Jewish tradition with Bluegrass (yes !!! ) (Hodu L’Adonai).  Rick Recht mixes jewish tradition (and sometimes Hebrew) with rock, ( Hallelujah).  The maccabeats (shine) are a modern orthodox acapella group.

2. Pop: Daughtry (Home), One Republic (Apologize), and Jann Arden (The Sound of) are amazing voices that cross boundaries.

But the biggest part of my playlist?  The genre whose artists inspire more scenes in the story than any other?  Number three, (though number one in my heart …)?

Country.  Yep.

Dierks Bentley(Damn These Dreams), Luke Bryan (Apologize), Cam(Burning house), Eric Church (Raise ‘Em Up), Brett Eldredge (Beat of the Music), Maddie and Tae (fly), Kip Moore (Hey Pretty Girl), Michael Ray(Kiss you in the Morning), Blake Shelton (Doin’ What She Likes), Canaan Smith (Love you like that ), Keith Urban (John Cougar…, Tonight I want to Cry),  Eli Young Band (Even if it Breaks Your Heart).

Country. Country. Country.  In it’s wide and varied forms, from silly to emotional, from traditional to contemporary, from flirty to graceful, country music captures so many different moods and moments.  It’s probably why the genre is one of my favorites.

All of these wide and varied voices, plus a Dave Barnes track (God Gave me You) and a classical piece by the Portland Cello Project (Shalom Chaverim) round out the playlist for this short story.

May you listen to beautiful music and have amazing moments this December.



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