Genesis–The Book with Seventy Faces: A Guide for the Family

Pitspopany  2008


Aviva Zornberg, noted Biblical scholar, has written the introduction to this unusual book, which introduces and explains all the Biblical portions of the week in the book of Genesis. There are multiple layers for each portion, first the re-telling of the story with commentary (the seventy faces), followed by questions to engage the reader with the text and stories. Midrash, commentary both from sages of old and contemporary scholars, and kabbalah, are all included in the elucidation of the Biblical text. Colored boxes on the side of the page discuss concepts related to each portion, such as compare and contrast, which would be beneficial to teenagers and adults. The author attempts to make the text relevant, as for example in the text on Miketz, about Joseph’s dreams in Egypt, questions are asked: “Have you ever had a dream that you thought was real?” Also, in discussing that Joseph kept hope in the years in prison; there is a mention of other people who survived long years in prison, such as Nelson Mandela and Natan Sharansky. “What qualities do you think such people may have?” asks the author. Parents reading to young children will probably opt to limit their reading to the retelling of the actual story. Families with older children or adult relatives will choose the two layers to read together, although the size and weight of this book remain its main disadvantage. This book is recommended for families with children between the ages of eight to fourteen. It holds endless possibilities for learning and discussion. This title won the 2008 National Jewish Book Award in Jewish Family Literature. 

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