Director’s Note: You can either read this skit free-form by going around the table and having everyone take turns, or you can assign parts, or you can just have two people take turns reading … whatever makes your Hanukkah kick-ass! If you’re going big, then you’ll want to include the following props: Salty cheese, a bottle of wine (Manischewitz is best), a wine glass and a plastic sword. Have fun!
MACCABEE: 19 lines
BAKER: 19 lines
JUDITH (A BEAUTIFUL JEWISH WIDOW): 10 lines
JUDITH’S MAID: 7 lines
HOLOFERNES (AN ASSYRIAN GENERAL): 9 lines
NARRATOR: 8 lines
NARRATOR: The setting is a battle during the Maccabee uprising against the Assyrian occupation of Judea, circa 168 B.C.E. Scene 1 takes place in the town of Bethulia, near Jerusalem.
MACCABEE: Hey there. I’m a Maccabee.
BAKER: Oh, wow. That’s my favorite cookie. Kind of a specialty of mine!
MACCABEE: No – not a macaroon – a Maccabee. Anyway, I’m here to tell you a cool Hanukkah story you may never have heard before – the story of Judith and the Salty Cheese.
BAKER: I’d rather hear a story about macaroons.
MACCABEE: Shush. You’ll like this story. So, around 168 B.C.E…
BAKER: Whoah – “B.C.E.?” What is that, some sort of boy band?
MACCABEE: No – it means “Before the Common Era.” Just think of it as the year 3593, because that’s what it was on the Jewish calendar. Anyway, during this time, the Jews were fighting to retake the land of Judea after it had been invaded by the Assyrians.
BAKER: The Syrians invaded our land?
MACCABEE: Not the Syrians – the Assyrians.
BAKER: What’s an Assyrian?
MACCABEE: The Assyrians lived in what is now northern Iraq, which used to be ruled by the Greeks.
BAKER: This is getting very confusing. Were we fighting the Assyrians, the Iraqis, or the Greeks?
MACCABEE: That’s not important right now! The point is, it was a seriously tough battle. There were only a few hundred Maccabees fighting thousands of Assyrians. And to make matters worse, the Assyrians had the meanest, toughest general we ever saw. His name was Holofernes.
BAKER: His name was what?
BAKER: That’s like the worst name ever. It sounds like a potted plant. Maybe that’s why he was so mean?
MACCABEE: Maybe. Anyway, his mission was to defeat the Jews. And it was working, too. Holofernes had cut off their food and water supply, and they were quickly running out of everything.
BAKER: Even macaroons?
MACCABEE: ENOUGH WITH THE MACAROONS! THERE ARE NO MACAROONS IN THIS STORY!
BAKER: Oh, OK. Sorry.
MACCABEE: All right, I’ll add some macaroons at the end if you’ll just let me get through this part.
MACCABEE: OK. Luckily for us, there was a beautiful Jewish woman named Judith. She was a widow who was tired of seeing her people oppressed by the Assyrians. So she hatched a plan.
JUDITH: I have hatched a plan! I shall go to see Holofernes, along with some salty cheese, a bottle of wine, and my trusty maid.
MAID: I’m the maid.
BAKER: Wait – why does Judith have a maid?
MACCABEE: Everyone had a maid in those days.
BAKER: But I mean like, if her people were oppressed and didn’t even have enough food and water, how did she have wine and cheese? And for that matter, how could she a afford a maid?
MAID: Excellent question.
MACCABEE: Quiet! Judith, I’m sorry. Please continue.
JUDITH: Thank you. I shall go with this salty cheese, some wine, and my trusty maid [SHOOTS BAKER A LOOK] who continues to work for me even though I can’t pay her right now. I may wind up dead, but I’ve got to try to save my people. But first, I need to put on some foxy clothes. Maid, fetch me that red backless Valentino and the black Manolo slingbacks.
MAID: These are her clothes. And yet she can’t afford to pay me.
NARRATOR: Judith and Maid exit.
BAKER: Wait – why is Judith putting on foxy clothes to take on an evil general? How is that going to… oh, I see where this is going.
NARRATOR: Judith and the Maid enter the Assyrian camp.
JUDITH: Yooo hooo… Holofernes!
HOLOFERNES: Who dares enter my camp? I shall smite you and make you rue the day you… [SPOTTING JUDITH]… whoah. Well, hello. You’re mighty foxy. Who are you?
JUDITH: Hi, I’m Judith. And you’re mighty handsome yourself… for an evil general who wants to starve my people to death, that is.
HOLOFERNES: Wow! Thanks! How about if you hang out here while I figure out how I’m going to kill every last one of those Jewish Maccabees?
JUDITH: That sounds perfect. But you know what? You look a little tired and hungry. Why don’t you come to my tent and rest while my maid whips you up a little snack?
HOLOFERNES: Your maid? [SPOTS MAID.] Oh, hey. I didn’t even notice you were here.
MAID: Story of my life.
HOLOFERNES: OK, well, I guess I could use a nosh.
NARRATOR: Holofernes and Judith go into her tent.
JUDITH: Maid, give the general some of my delicious cheese.
MAID: Yes, your majesty.
NARRATOR: Maid hands Holofernes a big piece of white cheese.
HOLOFERNES: Wow. This is delicious. Hey, this cheese is making me so thirsty.
JUDITH: Maid, give the general some of my delicious red wine.
HOLOFERNES: Oh, I really shouldn’t drink before going into battle.
JUDITH: Oh, don’t worry. I’m sure your army is going to be victorious. They’ve got you to lead them, and you’re such a big, strong hunk of a man.
MAID: I gotta admit, she’s pretty good at this.
HOLOFERNES: I guess you’re right. All right, pour me some of that wine. [MAKES GULPING SOUNDS] Woooh – that’s really sweet. But it goes down well with the salty cheese.
NARRATOR: Maid pours him another glass of wine, which he guzzles down as he eats another big chunk of cheese.
HOLOFERNES: Yeah, that’s delicious. [HICCUP.] Oh, man. I’m getting really sleepy.
JUDITH: Then why don’t you just lie down for a minute?
HOLOFERNES: Well… all right – just for a little while. Don’t let me sleep more than 45 minutes, OK? Cuz I really gotta go kill some Jewzzzzzzzzz…
NARRATOR: Holofernes falls asleep and begins to snore loudly. Judith then grabs his sword from his belt.
JUDITH: Sweet dreams, sleepyhead. And speaking of your head… HA-YA!
NARRATOR: Judith wields the sword and chops Holofernes’s head off.
MAID: HOLY CRAP! YOU JUST CHOPPED HIS HEAD OFF! I did NOT see that coming!
BAKER: Me neither! This story is crazy!
MACCABEE: And you won’t believe what happened next. Judith took Holofernes’s head and hung it outside the tent for all the Assyrians to see. Once they saw their general had been slaughtered, and by a woman, they completely freaked out! And the Maccabees got a second wind when they saw what a champ Judith was, and they kicked some Assyrian ass!
BAKER: And THEN they all ate macaroons?
MACCABEE: [SIGHS.] Yeah, then they all ate macaroons to celebrate. And because of Judith and her incredible bravery, in addition to the latkes and jelly donuts that we eat on Hanukkah, we also eat salty cheese.
BAKER: Like Feta?
MACCABEE: Sure, like Feta.
BAKER: I have another question.
MACCABEE: Of course you do.
BAKER: Actually, two. Why do we spell “Hanukkah” so many different ways, and why is it that we remember the Maccabees, who were super-fit and strong like you, by eating heavy fried food and cheese?
MACCABEE: Those, my friend, are very good questions that even I can’t answer. Now I’m really hungry, so when I count to three, all listeners and actors wish each other Happy Hanukkah with feeling! One… two… three!
EVERYONE: HAPPY HANUKKAH!
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