Announcing the Winner of Alma’s Third Annual Hanukkah Movie Pitch Challenge

Katie Esmonde's "A Boyfriend for Hanukkah" is a trailblazer in the Jewish romantic heist genre, and we love it.

We asked you to send us your best ideas for Hanukkah movies. We chose our top 10. You voted. And now, we are so excited to announce the winner of Alma’s third annual Hanukkah Movie Pitch challenge!

Not coming soon to any theaters near you — because, again, we are not a movie studio but merely a Jewish website — is Katie Esmonde’s original Hanukkah film, “A Boyfriend For Hanukkah.”

A Boyfriend for Hanukkah
Design by Emily Burack

Here’s Katie’s winning plot:

Career-focused Hannah Goldstein (Lizzy Caplan), a historian at the Toronto Jewish Museum, just wants two things out of the holiday season. One: to keep her mother Naomi (Barbra Streisand) off her back about her not bringing a boyfriend to Shabbat dinner since the destruction of the Second Temple. Two: to make it through the stressful eight day-long Hanukkah exhibit at the Museum that will culminate in the unveiling of the recently discovered Sword of Judah Maccabee.

When she meets Joshua Green (Daveed Diggs), a handsome (and recently single!) museum-goer and lawyer who is passionate about historical Judaica, she thinks she’s found a way to pull it all off. He agrees to pose as her boyfriend, just for Hanukkah, and she’ll just tell her mother that he moved back to Israel by New Year’s Eve. But when he charms her family at her nephew’s (Lucas Jade Zumann) bar mitzvah and then wows her mother with his rendition of Shehecheyanu on the first night of Hanukkah, Hannah starts to think that he might be more than just a boyfriend for Hanukkah. What she doesn’t know is that Joshua isn’t the mensch that he appears to be. He isn’t just a lawyer — he’s also a member of a notorious ring of art thieves! And he’s been plotting to steal the Sword of Judah Maccabee all along. Or at least he was, until he tasted her signature sufganiyot and saw her fun side come out in the Goldstein Family dreidel tournament. He’s been more focused on building his career as a priceless artifacts thief than on settling down, but he’s surprised to find himself falling for Hannah.

When the sword is stolen even after Joshua tries to cancel the heist, Hannah discovers the truth about her Hanukkah boyfriend. To save her job, and Hanukkah, she begrudgingly joins forces with Joshua to steal back the Maccabee Sword before the gala on the last night of Hanukkah.

Will the sword be lost forever, and their love lost along with it? Or will there be another Hanukkah miracle?

“My primary inspiration for ‘A Boyfriend for Hanukkah’ was my desire to see Daveed Diggs in more romantic roles,” Katie told Alma. “I am delighted, but not surprised, that so many people agreed with me.”

Baruch Hashem, someone finally said what needed to be said!

Katie, who is originally from Canada, currently lives in Washington, D.C. with her Hanukkah sweater-loving husband, 1-year-old daughter and two dogs. When she hasn’t been dreaming up harebrained schemes to appease Jewish mothers and crafting imagined artifact heists, she’s been working as a postdoctoral fellow in bioethics.

What does Katie plan on doing with all her winning fame and glory, you wonder?

“I love cheesy holiday movies and I had so much fun coming up with my own,” she added. “I plan to bring up this win to anyone and everyone who will listen, for many Hanukkahs to come. I also hope that Netflix and Daveed Diggs will get in touch with me so we can get the ball rolling on this.”

Your move, Netflix, and mazel tov, Katie!

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