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.
The Family Book of Midrash: Fifty-Two Jewish Stories From the Sages
How wonderful it is that Goldin’s retold tales of heroic rabbis, biblical characters, and individual men and women from the Talmud and Midrash are back in print. This paperback edition faithfully reproduces all stories and decorative page borders from The Child’s Book of Midrash, also published as The Family Book of Midrash, in 1990 by Jason Aronson Publishers. Classic selections emphasize kindness and faith; miracles are celebrated, and strong plots reinforce moral and ethical values. Goldin’s collection fleshes out well-known tales, such as Solomon’s battle of wills with the demon king Asmodeus and Rachel’s belief that her shepherd husband Akiva can become a scholar. Historical research and good storytelling also bring alive less widely circulated characters, such as Elisha who, challenged by a Roman guard, opens the hand where his forbidden prayer box lies hidden to find a feathered surprise. Barbara Diamond Goldin won the Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries in 1997. With naturalness and warmth, she offers plenty of old-time adventure, suspense, drama, and humor here. Once the stories have been shared aloud — there are enough for each week of the year — 21st century children will want to return to re-experience them for themselves. Bibliography, glossary.
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