While we love the Hallmark Channel’s annual Christmas movies, there’s room for improvement when it comes to representation. After all, there are plenty of other holidays and cultures that deserve to be recognized as well. Besides, why wouldn’t Hallmark jump on the chance to draw in more viewers?
In 2020, they finally switched things up by introducing Jewish characters and traditions into their films with Holiday Date and Double Holiday. In 2021 they released another interfaith film, Love, Lights, Hanukkah, as well as Eight Gifts of Hanukkah, which was their first to focus entirely on the Jewish holiday. Now they’ve got another Hanukkah film coming up this December with Hanukkah on Rye and it sounds like one fun trip to the deli counter.
Hanukkah on Rye Served Up this December
Hallmark’s new Hanukkah film stars Jeremy Jordan and Yael Grobglas as the lead couple, along with singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb in a supporting role. According to the logline, it all starts when ’a matchmaker connects Molly and Jacob, but their new romance is put to the test when they realize that they are competing deli owners. Will a Hanukkah miracle keep them together?’
Jeremy Jordan is a prolific Broadway actor, having starred as Jack Kelly in the musical adaptation of ‘Newsies’ and as Clyde Barrow in ‘Bonnie & Clyde.’ He then gained even more fans after making his way onto the small screen, thanks to starring roles like Jimmy Collins in Smash and Winn Scott in Supergirl. He has previously starred in two past Hallmark films — 2020’s Holly & Ivy and last year’s Mix Up in the Mediterranean.
Yael Grogblas appeared in Israeli film and television for years before her role as Petra/Natalia on CW’s love letter to telenovelas, Jane the Virgin, introduced her to American audiences in 2014. She’s also guest-starred on the CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Supergirl — alongside her future co-star, Jordan. And although Loeb is still best known for her 90s hits, she’s done quite a bit of acting work since the early 2000s. Most notably, she voiced Mary Jane Watson in MTV’s Spiderman: The New Animated Series and appeared in the 2011 remake of Fright Night. As fans of Lisa Loeb, we certainly hope she will ‘Stay’ on the Hallmark line-up next year, as well.
The History of Hanukkah
At over 2,000 years old, Hanukkah is arguably the oldest of all the winter holidays. While many historians debate what actually happened, the prevailing origin story goes like this:
According to legend, the Jewish people were being controlled by the Greek-Syrian King Antiochus IV, who closed their sacred temple and forced them to worship his gods. Until finally a group of brothers — the Maccabees — led a massive two-year revolt and successfully drove him out. The people then cleaned and rededicated their temple before lighting its menorah, which was supposed to burn day and night to symbolize God’s presence. Unfortunately, so much time had passed that the wicks only had enough oil to burn for one day. Yet, by some miracle, it lasted for eight whole nights and gave the people plenty of time to find more oil.
Believe it or not, Hanukkah wasn’t considered a major holiday for many years. Compared to other days like Passover, this one was minor. Yet, in more recent years, the fact that it occurs right around Christmastime has greatly boosted its appeal and cultural significance.
Today, Jewish families all over the world gather to celebrate the ‘Festival of Lights’ every December. For eight days and nights they recite prayers and light a new candle on the menorah. They also exchange small gifts and enjoy some traditional kosher food. A favorite holiday dish is latkes, or fried potato pancakes that are served with either applesauce or sour cream. And children love playing with a four-sided spinning top, or dreidel, for handfuls of chocolate coins called gelt.
Hanukkah on Rye on Hallmark
Hanukkah on Rye premieres on the Hallmark Channel December 18th, 2022 which happens to be the very first night of this wonderful holiday. After the success of last year’s Love, Lights, Hanukkah and Eight Gifts of Hanukkah, we can’t wait to see what Hallmark serves up with Hanukkah On Rye.