Project image
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$5,573
pledged of $12,000pledged of $12,000 goal
92
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, January 4 2016 4:59 AM UTC +00:00
$5,573
pledged of $12,000pledged of $12,000 goal
92
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Mon, January 4 2016 4:59 AM UTC +00:00

About

The light of the menorah, delicious potato pancakes, spinning dreidels and chocolate coins...these are the things we've come to associate with Hanukkah. International political intrigue, a holocaust in the ancient Middle East, and a seven-year holy war where Temple priests defied one of the most powerful empires on earth and won—for some reason, those parts tend to get whitewashed, glossed over, or forgotten entirely. Not any more.

When Emperor Antiochus the Mad declares war on the Jewish faith, a humble family of priests must rise up and fight to save their people—and their way of life—from annihilation.
When Emperor Antiochus the Mad declares war on the Jewish faith, a humble family of priests must rise up and fight to save their people—and their way of life—from annihilation.

My name is Daniel Perez, and I'm a writer from Brooklyn. While most of my published work has been of the journalistic variety, the project that remains dearest to my heart is Maccabæus, a screenplay (and soon a graphic novel) I've been working on since 2011 that tells the unbelievable true story of Hanukkah. You see, Hanukkah is my favorite holiday, but despite the festival's popularity, most folks don't really know much about its origins. The word itself, “hanukkah,” means “dedication,” and it refers to the re-dedication of the Temple, Israel's most hallowed institution, during the Hasmonean Revolt of 167 BCE. Jewish rebel forces shocked the world when they defeated the occupying Seleucid (Syrian-Greek) Imperial Army, liberating Jerusalem. Then came the miracle of legend that most people associate with the holiday: that a 24-hour supply of untainted olive oil, fit for use in the Temple menorah, miraculously burned for eight days until new oil could be obtained.

Maccabæus is a tale of savage oppression, bloody defiance, and ultimately, redemption. The rebellion was in large part a civil war between those Jews who sided with the Greek occupiers and identified with their worldview, versus those who clung to the old ways, and a Law first promulgated from the top of Mt. Sinai more than thirteen centuries prior. Depending on one's perspective, this was either a conflict of spiritually devout patriots versus opportunistic traitors, or one of religious terrorists versus progressives whose only crime was keeping up with the times. It's a story that still carries tremendous relevance today. Personally, I consider the Judah Maccabee to be among the Jews' greatest champions, but the story of the rebellion is one fraught with moral complexity, which I hope to address with this book.

Mattathias the High Priest ignites the Maccabean Revolt when he deals out some "street justice" against a Jewish imperial collaborator.
Mattathias the High Priest ignites the Maccabean Revolt when he deals out some "street justice" against a Jewish imperial collaborator.

The story itself, which I have assembled from a variety of Apocryphal (i.e. quasi-Biblical), Talmudic, and secular sources—along with a teensy bit of artistic license—is equal parts “Gladiator” and “Defiance,” with a dash of “Game of Thrones.” When I started showing the script around, what I kept hearing is that it would make an amazing graphic novel, so in the interest of giving the people what they want, this Kickstarter campaign was born. I've enlisted the help of multi-talented artist Mark Strauss, a graduate of New York's School of Visual Arts. All the illustrations you're seeing here and in the video are his original work.

Our goal of $12,000 includes the cost of producing the artwork of Maccabæus, and for printing a limited first edition run, 250 copies of the book. It also accounts for the cost of producing the incentives being offered to our backers, such as the Maccabee Army T-shirt.

T-shirt concept art. Final version may be more awesome.
T-shirt concept art. Final version may be more awesome.

If we end up exceeding the campaign goal, every dollar we earn will go back into this project. The more we bring in, the higher the quality of materials we'll be able to use in publishing the book, and the more copies we'll be able to print. The remainder will be invested back into marketing the book itself.

Our plan is to have the book completed in time for next Hanukkah, which is why most of the rewards are dated December 2016. It may be completed before then, but we felt that one year was an ambitious but reasonable goal for such an undertaking.

Please don't hesitate to contact me via email if you have any questions about the project or the rewards we are offering. Thanks, and we look forward to having your support as a member of “Team Maccabee."

Judah Maccabee battles a Seleucid imperial soldier.
Judah Maccabee battles a Seleucid imperial soldier.

 
PS: Make sure to like us on Facebook and follow Judah Maccabee on Twitter. Every "like," "share," and "retweet" helps!

Risks and challenges

The good news is that Maccabæus is already written, so that phase of the project is complete. What remains is the artwork. Creating the content for the book is a two-person project, and our goal is to finish and distribute the book by next Hanukkah, if not sooner. Our rewards are based on this conservative assessment, which is why most of them are dated next December.

The biggest challenge will be utilizing our budget effectively, getting the best quality of printing for the best possible price. With more funding, we'll be able to use heavier pages and premium ink for the print edition. Fortunately, my experience running a newspaper has made me adept at managing projects and dealing with printers, usually on much tighter deadlines.

Between the two of us, Mark and I have the creative talents and professional wherewithal to tell the story of the Maccabees in a way that has never been done before. With your support, we can make it happen!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS!

    Help two young artists from Brooklyn make their vision a reality. A gift of $5 gets you our eternal gratitude (no shipping required).

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    RESERVE YOUR COPY OF MACCABAEUS (DIGITAL EDITION)

    Read our graphic novel on your computer or mobile device! We'll send you a copy of the book in digital format before the printed version ships!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    FOR "PEOPLE OF THE BOOK"

    Receive a printed copy of Maccabæus (a.k.a. the coolest Hanukkah gift ever), as well as the early release e-book version.

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    GRAPHIC NOVEL + SIGNED PRINT

    We'll send you a copy of Maccabæus (and e-book), as well as a limited edition print signed by artist Mark Strauss.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    SHARE THE EXPERIENCE

    “This book sounds awesome,” you're saying. “I'd like a hardcopy for myself, but I'd also like one to lend out, or give as a holiday gift.” We've got you covered! For $45, we'll send you two printed copies of Maccabæus. We'll also include the e-book at no additional cost.

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    1 backer
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    Pledge $54 or more About $54

    JOIN THE REBELLION!

    Get the book (both versions), the limited edition print, *and* show off your "enlistment" with a stylish MACCABEE ARMY T-shirt!

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    15 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    MACCABAEUS FOR YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS (5 COPIES)

    Want to get your holiday gift shopping out of the way early—like, a year early? Or maybe you want to share Maccabæus with your congregation or youth group. Then this is the tier for you! It includes five printed copies, plus the digital edition. We'll even throw in a free “Maccabee Army” T-shirt, so everyone will know who to thank!

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    3 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    THE MACCABEE COMMANDER'S PACKAGE

    Receive the digital and print editions of the book. In addition to the regular signed print, artist Mark Strauss will create a custom illustration of you or someone of your choosing as a Maccabee warrior! And to top it all off, your name will be included in our acknowledgments section as one of our chief supporters.

    And of course, that sweet "Maccabee Army" T-shirt.

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    7 backers
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    Pledge $540 or more About $540

    BE *IN* MACCABAEUS!

    At this level, receive everything in the "Maccabee Commander's Package," along with an extra copy of the book to share. Also, instead of merely receiving a sketch of yourself as a Maccabee, we will use your likeness in the book itself!

    Just for good measure, we'll send you an autographed copy of the original screenplay upon which Maccabæus is based. (Sure to become a collector's item when the movie is ultimately made and wins every Academy Award.)

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    THE PATRON PACKAGE

    If you happen to be an eccentric millionaire, or just a supporter of the arts who really believes in the idea of a Maccabee graphic novel and wants to help us make it a reality, this tier is for you.

    At this level of support, you'll receive the book (digital and two hardcopies), the T-shirt, the screenplay, and artist Mark Strauss will create a custom illustration or painting of your choice (up to 16" x 20").

    As a pillar of Project Maccabæus, your contribution will be recognized not in the acknowledgments section, but on the credits page along with the book's creators.

    Optional: If you happen to be in the NYC area, Maccabæus author Daniel Perez will personally treat you to dinner at a mutually agreed-upon restaurant within the five boroughs. As the Jewish Voice's former (managing editor and) resident restaurant reviewer, Dan knows the New York kosher food scene, and is happy to be your guide.

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Funding period

- (31 days)