Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim: A Passover Story

Deb­o­rah Bod­in Cohen; Jago, illus.
  • Review
By – January 9, 2012
Cohen’s inter­pre­ta­tion of the midrash of Nachshon being the first Israelite to enter the Nile upon their escape from Egypt allows the mod­ern child to relate to the sto­ry. Nachshon is por­trayed as a hero who has one flaw — he is afraid to swim. He is a slave who is excit­ed and encour­aged by the appear­ance of Moses. When the whole nation stops at the Nile, as the Egyp­tians fol­low close behind, he is por­trayed as being so inspired by Moses that he is the first to enter despite his fear of the water. The dig­i­tal­ly pre­pared, mixed­me­dia illus­tra­tions are bright­ly col­ored por­tray­als of the peo­ple and sur­round­ings of Egypt. The scenes are meant to be his­tor­i­cal­ly- based yet rec­og­niz­able to the today’s chil­dren as some­thing they can relate to, e.g. the tents and bon­fire as the Israelites leave Egypt. It is a pos­i­tive and fun addi­tion to Passover read­ing. Ages 4 – 9.
Dro­ra Arussy, Ed.D., is an edu­ca­tion­al con­sul­tant who spe­cial­izes in inte­grat­ing Jew­ish and sec­u­lar stud­ies, the arts into edu­ca­tion, and cre­ative teach­ing for excel­lence in Jew­ish edu­ca­tion. She is the moth­er to four school-age chil­dren and has taught from pre-school through adult. Dro­ra is an adjunct pro­fes­sor of Hebrew lan­guage at Drew University.

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