Ele­phant Tisha B’Av

Jen­nifer Tzivia MacLeod
  • Review
By – December 1, 2015

Part of a series on ani­mals and hol­i­day obser­vance, this is a book that focus­es on remembrance.

An ele­phant nev­er for­gets, they say. The el­ephants pho­tographed and described here use their mem­o­ries to help them­selves sur­vive in the savan­nah. They need to remem­ber where to find food and water. They need to remem­ber to fol­low their lead­ers and stay togeth­er to con­tin­ue to be strong and sur­vive. The author com­pares the strength of these hardy ani­mals who hold firm­ly onto their mem­o­ries with the strength of the Jew­ish peo­ple who firm­ly hold onto their his­to­ry and cul­ture, and who also use their mem­o­ries as a pow­er­ful tool to ensure sur­vival. Jews remem­ber, in par­tic­u­lar, Beit Hamik­dash, the Holy Tem­ple. Tisha B’Av is a spe­cial day devot­ed to this remem­brance. We remem­ber Beit Hamik­dash through the ages, both its joys and the over­whelming sad­ness of its destruc­tion. We cling togeth­er, fol­low our lead­ers, and con­tin­ue to remem­ber, stay strong, and survive. 

It’s an unusu­al anal­o­gy but maybe not com­pletely unapt. Per­haps the impos­ing imagery of the mas­sive ele­phants will help chil­dren remem­ber, too.

An author’s note at the end teach­es more about Tisha B’Av.

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 3 – 6.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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