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

Esther Takac; Anna Pig­nataro, illus.
  • Review
By – November 10, 2011

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. 

Shelly Feit has an M.L.S. and a Sixth-year Spe­cial­ist’s Cer­tifi­cate in infor­ma­tion sci­ence. She is the library direc­tor and media spe­cial­ist at the Mori­ah School in Engle­wood, NJ.

Discussion Questions