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Updated: Sep 14, 2019



Illustrations By NOAH PHILLIPS



Enjoy Theodore Bikel’s moving story—transformed into this beautifully illustrated e-book with your family this Hanukkah!

"Aimee Ginsburg Bikel’s shaping and sharing of her beloved late husband Theo Bikel's tale of what he experienced as a little boy during the rise, and then explosion, of hatred that preceded the Holocaust, is beautiful, painfully powerful, and a great gift. It is particularly meaningful in this time of mushrooming anti-Semitism, hatred and bigotry of every sort, worldwide. Told in the sweet poetic language of a child, and a one-day-to-become iconic actor, poet, folk singer and international activist for social justice, it is a riveting and undeniable tale, made all the more meaningful by the mounting denial of this history that we must tell and retell, lest it be repeated."— PETER YARROW, Peter Paul and Mary

Simsbury, CT (September 24, 2019) Just in time for Hanukkah 2019, MomentBooks, a new imprint of Mandel Vilar Press, will release THEODORE BIKEL’S ‘THE CITY OF LIGHT’ by Aimee Ginsburg Bikel and illustrations by Noah Phillips (Trade Hardcover Original; November 5, 2019; $16.95; ISBN 978-1942134619). The book is based on a story commissioned by Moment Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Nadine Epstein that was published in the magazine and read aloud on NPR’s Hanukkah Lights program in 2014. Now, for the first time, Aimee Ginsburg Bikel, Theo's wife, has expanded the original story into a full-sized, illustrated book.

In THEODORE BIKEL’S ‘THE CITY OF LIGHT,’ the beloved late actor, singer and activist poignantly recounts moments from his childhood in Vienna, when he experienced and witnessed brutal and violent anti-Semitism as Nazi influence grew—memories that remained with him all his life. Set in Vienna in 1937-1938 during Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria and Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass,” a young Jewish boy sees the shattered windows of Jewish businesses and elderly Jews being spat upon and forced to clean the sidewalks with their coats. Once at home in the city, he is ostracized and beaten.

One night, the boy dreams that his favorite Jewish superhero, Judah Maccabee, has arrived to save Vienna’s Jews. But when he awakens, there has been no Maccabean rescue. Years pass, the boy, now an old man, returns to Vienna and finds its Jewish community and Temple have been restored. He looks for the eternal light in the Temple and can’t find it. Then suddenly it becomes clear to him: “The light was there all the time; it was in his own heart.”

This special book also includes a three-page Yiddish word glossary, a recipe for Honey Cake from Bikel's Grandmother, and sheet music of one of Theo's favorite Hanukkah songs, "Little Candle Fires" with a link to websites where you can hear him singing this song.

A wonderful and inspiring story for readers ages 10 and up, THEODORE BIKEL’S ‘THE CITY OF LIGHT’ will make a wonderful gift this holiday season.


Theodore Bikel was an admired actor, folk singer, musician, composer, unionist and political activist. He appeared in numerous Hollywood films and in 1959, co-founded the Newport Folk Festival. A seasoned Broadway actor and singer, Bikel originated the role of Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music and starred as Tevye in the musical, Fiddler on the Roof, a role he performed more often than any other actor to date. He was also known for his roles in My Fair Lady, The Defiant Ones, and was a frequent guest star on many popular television series such as Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Wagon Train, Hawaii Five-O, Columbo, Charlie’s Angels, Little House on the Prairie, Gunsmoke, Dynasty, and All in the Family. Bikel received many awards in his life including an Academy Award Nomination and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Aimee Ginsburg Bikel worked as a journalist for the Israeli Newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, for 16 years. As Bikel’s widow, she is the founding director of the Theodore Bikel Legacy Project and is active in projects which strengthen and support the values close to Theo’s heart: social justice and Jewish folk culture.

Noah Phillips is a Brooklyn-based writer, illustrator and social worker. His artwork has appeared in magazines, newspapers and a book of children's stories called The Three Chickens and Five Other Stories.

MomentBooks, a new trade book imprint of Mandel Vilar Press, publishes creative written and visual fiction and nonfiction that inspire and enlighten readers. Their titles include:

ELIE WIESEL: An Extraordinary Life and Legacy by Moment Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Nadine Epstein (April 2019). Epstein shares her memories of Wiesel and brings together 36 reflections from friends, colleagues, and others who knew him—including his son Elisha Wiesel, Michael Berenbaum, Wolf Blitzer, Father Patrick Desbois, Ben Kingsley, Ronald S. Lauder, Bernard-Henri Levy, Kati Marton, Itzhak Perlman, Natan Sharansky, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Oprah Winfrey and Ruth Wisse. The Foreword is by world famous British Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the Afterword is by acclaimed broadcaster Ted Koppel.

HAVE I GOT A CARTOON FOR YOU: The Moment Magazine Book of Jewish Cartoons by Bob Mankoff (September 2019). Bob Mankoff, former cartoon editor at The New Yorker and Esquire and currently the cartoon editor at Air Mail, gathers his favorite Jewish cartoons – from his own collection as well as from 27 of the best cartoonists in America including Lars Kenseth, Amy Kurzweil and Robert Leighton. In the introduction to this entertaining collection, he shows how his Jewish heritage helped him to become a successful cartoonist, examines the place of cartoons in the vibrant history of Jewish humor, and plumbs Jewish thought, wisdom, and shtick for humorous insights. The book also features a foreword by the award-winning New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, as well as some of her cartoons.

For more information visit www.mvpublishers.org and https://momentbooks.com/.

Digital review copies are available at https://www.edelweiss.plus/.


By Aimee Ginsburg Bikel, Illustrated by Noah Phillips

Juvenile Fiction/ The Holocaust/ Hanukkah

(Hardcover; 978-1942134619; $16.95; 64 Pages)

MomentBooks/Mandel Vilar Press; November 5, 2019