Pin It
Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Science Meets Religion in Menorah Under the Sea


Menorah Under the Sea
By: Esther Susan Heller
Reviewed By: Deb Fowler


David Ginsburg is a marine biologist who headed to Antarctica to study marine life at the bottom of the “frigid ocean.” It was a long, grueling fourteen hour flight from Los Angeles to McMurdo Station, an American research center at the “bottom of the world.” It’s a very desolate, dangerous area that people reside in or visit for short periods of time. Cruise ships occasionally drop by for a look-see, but the primary residents of Antarctica are research scientists from more than forty countries who stay for only a few short months of the year.


When David arrived he had other more pressing thoughts than research on his mind. It was the first day of Hanukkah and because it was summer it would be light twenty-four hours a day. How could he possibly light his menorah? He suited up with his diving buddy, Rob, and prepared to journey into the depths of the ocean and “with battery-operated flashlights and underwater cameras, they were ready to go.” He spiraled slowly into the dark depths of the sea. The only light came from the diving hole and their flashlights. David began his work of gathering together starfish and sea urchins. Time was passing quickly and soon he would have to surface. He began to smile as a thought passed his mind and he decided to dive even deeper. Would David be able to bring Hanukkah to Antarctica?


This is a tale of a very unusual holiday celebration that everyone who reads it will marvel at the depth of David’s dedication and love for Hanukkah. Religion and science mesh very nicely in this book, one that has a very touching, harmonious conclusion. The book is illustrated with many interesting photographs of David during his first day at McMurdo. In the back of the book are brief paragraphs about sea urchins and McMurdo Station. This is a very unique and charming book and would be perfect as a read and discuss book in a homeschool or classroom setting.

© 2010 – 2013, Deb Fowler. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:

Family History

Who knew that becoming a mother merged our histories of loss and grief

Arranged Marriage 101

Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask

Overheard on the Beijing Subway When People Don't Think I Speak Mandarin

The awesome stuff I overhear like what these two Chinese women think of foreigners.

Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan

Colleague drank your breast milk from the work fridge again? Tales of breastfeeding in Mongolia


Deb Fowler has a B.S. from the University of Vermont and a M.Ed. from Boston College. For many years she taught and transcribed Braille (in between being a mother). She was a reviewer on the now defunct site, Roundable Reviews. She is currently reviewing on another site devoted to children's books and is a top reviewer on Amazon and member of their Vine program. She is also a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Deb is semi-retired and has simply exchanged her passion for Braille into reviewing books of all genres.

Leave us a comment!

Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!

What Cultural Norms Around Bare Feet Taught This Mother in Guatemala

Her baby's bare feet ended up being a lesson on poverty and privilege.
[…] the breastfeeding culture in Mongolia compared to America. Did you have any idea that something as simple as breastfeeding attitudes can […...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
My mother born in the 1930's is originally from the northern part of Germany. I am in my mid fifties and have a terrible relationship with my mother. She is domineering and hurts those where it hurt...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
[…] JC Niala, InCultureParent […...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
[…] […...
From Breastfeeding Around the World
Although humanity is one Man (in a generic sense, including woman)has identified himself endless groups, religious, nationalistic, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, etc. Once you separate ME from YOU on...
From What’s an Asian? Race and Identity for a New Generation
[…] […...
From Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan
Some great tips here but not many working mothers could feed baby every hour especially if you work in a major multi-nationa...
From Why African Babies Don’t Cry
So true!!! Thanks for being so honest and self reflective. It's a proof of true characte...
From Are Germans Really Rude?
As a first-time mom I've spent the last two months of my four-month-old's life stressed out about her sleep and I recognize how crazy this is. It's clearly not working for me! I'm wondering how non-...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep

More Multicultural Books, Etc.