Jew­ish Stories

Ani­ta Ganeri, Rachel Phillips, Illustrator
  • Review
By – June 15, 2012
Flu­id and invit­ing, Ganeri’s Jew­ish Sto­ries is one of six pic­ture books that acquaint read­ers with dif­fer­ent world reli­gions through sto­ries of lead­ers and events impor­tant to them. This title was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in Eng­land in 2001. To present Judaism, Ganeri has cho­sen eight Bib­li­cal tales — cre­ation, Joseph and his broth­ers, three selec­tions about Moses, David and Goliath, Esther, and Judah Mac­cabee — and one Hasidic tale of courage and hope by Pro­fes­sor Yaf­fa Eli­ach, set in the con­cen­tra­tion camp of Bergen Belsen. Large water­col­or illus­tra­tions sur­round the text and fill the pages with action. Did you know?” insets pro­vide back­ground on rit­u­als and his­to­ry. These box­es are often illus­trat­ed with col­or­ful pho­tographs from mod­ern times. Of course, this book can­not tell every­thing, but going the sto­ry route, it suc­ceeds as a child-friend­ly intro­duc­tion to some Jew­ish heroes, hol­i­days, and cus­toms, sim­ple, with­out dis­tort­ing the faith. Jew­ish Sto­ries is intend­ed for gen­er­al pub­lic and school library shelves, but may prove use­ful in syn­a­gogue and day school libraries where addi­tion­al copies of Bible sto­ries are need­ed. With rein­forced bind­ing, a sim­ple glos­sary, index, and a gen­er­al world reli­gions bib­li­og­ra­phy. Ages 7 – 10.

Sharon Elswit, author of The Jew­ish Sto­ry Find­er, now resides in San Fran­cis­co, where she has been help­ing stu­dents vis­it­ing 826 Valen­cia loca­tions around the city to write sto­ries and poems and get­ting adults up and retelling Jew­ish folk­tales to share with their own spin. 

Discussion Questions