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2021 Holiday Programming

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From Thanksgiving to Hanukkah to Christmas, join as WRKF celebrates the holiday season with a selection of seasonal programming designed to provide our community with a divers and contemplative perspective on the holidays. Enjoy traditional musical selections, storytelling, and more.

Please check back as we add more programming to our holiday offerings.

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Uprooted: The 1950s plan to erase Indian Country
Thursday, November 25 at 10am

This documentary presents the voices of people who survived a devastating plan to solve “the Indian problem.” In the 1950s, the U.S. government launched a campaign to assimilate Native Americans by eliminating reservations, terminating tribal governments, and persuading Native people to move to cities. Hundreds of thousands of Native people relocated to distant cities such as Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, Oakland, and Los Angeles.

Government pamphlets and films promised that Native people who agreed to relocation would find a better life in cities, but when they arrived, they were met with open discrimination and they struggled to find good jobs and housing.

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Splendid Table's Turkey Confidential
Thursday, November 25 at 11am

Francis Lam takes calls and comes to the rescue of Thanksgiving cooks, kitchen helpers, and dinner guests during the biggest cooking day of the year.

Guests include:

  • David Chang and Priya Krishna, authors of the new book Cook at Home: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Recipes (And Love My Microwave)
  • Pati Jinich of PBS’s award -winning series Pati’s Mexican Table
  • Kenji Lopez Alt of Serious Eats and his latest book The Wok Recipes and Techniques
  • Baker Cheryl Day, author of Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking
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Giving Thanks: A Celebration of Fall, Food, & Gratitude
Thursday, November 25 at 1pm

Giving Thanks shares music and stories that reflect the meaning of gratitude.

Special guests:

  • Stanley Tucci joins our Thanksgiving table to talk about his new book Taste: My Life Through Food, a memoir about food, family, and life – and his classic foodie films Big Night and Julie & Julia.
  • Naomi Shihab Nye shares her poems celebrating her Palestinian-American heritage, and our shared humanity.
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The Cook-Off
Thursday, November 25 at 7pm

At the start of the pandemic, the entire Hamadi family found themselves living together under the same roof for the first time... in a long time. The three adult siblings - Adonis, Rima and Rami - hunkered down with their parents, keeping themselves entertained watching movies and pulling pranks. One day, after watching a cooking competition on TV, they decided to try their own cook-off. But what was intended as just another way to pass the time ended up helping the Hamadis, and hundreds of others, make a difference in ways they never could have imagined.

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Living on Earth: Holiday Season Stories of Warmth and Light
Sunday, November 28 at 5pm

Native American myths and tales help us endure or even enjoy the short days and long nights of winter. This annual celebration of stories helps connect people with the natural world and includes an Iroquois explanation of why the constellation Pleiades twinkles overhead and an Abenaki custom that asks forgiveness for any wrongs of the previous year.

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Itzhak Perlman's Chanukah Radio Party
Sunday, November 28 at 6pm

Join the superstar violinist as he tells the story of the Jewish festival of lights, and shares his favorite recordings for the holiday – some serious, some silly.

Includes numbers from Itzhak Perlman's radio-addicted childhood in Israel; evocative songs in Yiddish and Ladino; classical music that revolves around the Maccabee heroes of the story; and Chanukah gems by American folk singers. The master storyteller also regales you with jokes and memories, plus tales of three classic Chanukah symbols: the menorah, the latke, and, of course, the dreidel.

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Hanukkah: A Great Miracle Happened There
Sunday, November 28 at 7pm

A conversation with Rabbi Ismar Schorsch about the history, rituals, and meaning of Hanukkah. Cantors David Lefkowitz and Elisheva Dienstfrey sing the music of Hanukkah. Rabbi Schorsch explains that Hanukkah is really about a Jewish civil war, a war between assimilated, Hellenized Jews and a pious band of zealots, the Maccabees. The well-known "miracle of the oil" occurs at the end of the story after the Temple has been retaken by the Maccabees, rededicated, and cleansed. Rabbi Schorsch also talks about Hanukkah as "the Jewish Christmas."

  • Dr. Ismar Schorsch is Chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.
  • Music of Hanukkah sung by Cantor David Lefkowitz of The Park Avenue Synagogue in New York, and by Cantor Elisheva Dienstfrey, now of Congregation Agudas Achim in Alexandria, Virginia.
  • Additional music from "Voice of the Turtle" and the Zamir Chorale of Boston.
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Tapestry: The Importance of Ritual
Sunday, December 5 at 6pm

A one hour special on the meaning of rituals and the power they hold.

Sasha Sagan, whose mother is writer Ann Druyan and father is the late astronomer Carl Sagan, grew up in a secular household. But that didn't mean rituals weren't important. She explores the idea in her book “For Small Creatures Such as We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World.”

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A Chanukah Celebration with Chicago a Cappella
Sunday, December 5 at 7pm

Join Jonathan Miller, artistic director of Chicago a cappella and a longtime champion of Jewish choral music, for an inspiring and informative show featuring choral music set to Chanukah texts. Hear familiar tunes and heartfelt original compositions by American and British composers provide added depth of expression to celebrating the holiday.

Jonathan Miller provides liturgical and cultural background as part of this unique look inside old and newer choral Chanukah traditions.

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A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
Friday, December 24 at 9am

Share in a live, world-wide Christmas Eve broadcast of a service of Biblical readings, carols, and related seasonal anthems. Hear the music a cappella and with organ accompaniment, presented by one of the world's foremost choirs of men and boys and performed in an acoustically and architecturally renowned venue.