Non­fic­tion

The Jew­ish Sto­ry Find­er: A Guide to 668 Tales List­ing Sub­jects and Sources

  • Review
By – June 19, 2013

Once upon a time there was a librar­i­an (or a teacher…or a grandparent…or a rab­bi) who need­ed just the right sto­ry for just the right moment in time. What to do? In the time-hon­ored tra­di­tion of questers every­where, our hero decides to con­sult a sage, a ven­er­a­ble repos­i­to­ry of Jew­ish folk-tale wis­dom. And so he or she reach­es for The Jew­ish Sto­ry Find­er, there to find a ban­quet replete with choic­es easy to access, and is able to find exact­ly the sto­ry that hits the spot. 

This is an indis­pens­able tool for edu­ca­tors, pub­lic speak­ers, fam­i­lies – any­one who wants to use the accu­mu­lat­ed wit and wis­dom of Jew­ish folk­lore to illus­trate or ampli­fy pret­ty much any top­ic that aris­es. Each sto­ry is pre­ced­ed by its source and is fol­lowed by a list of con­nec­tions” to oth­er asso­ci­at­ed top­ics, as well as lists of where else this sto­ry is told” and how else this sto­ry is told” so that oth­er ver­sions can be con­sult­ed, com­pared and con­trast­ed. There is a glos­sary of names and terms that recur in many of the tales as well as a bib­li­og­ra­phy of sources. The sto­ries are num­bered and are indexed both by title and sub­ject. Not­ed sto­ry­teller and author Penin­nah Schram has writ­ten the fore­word. This sec­ond edi­tion of The Sto­ry Find­er is wider and broad­er and deep­er and rich­er than ever. And as for the joy of brows­ing through the sto­ry sum­maries – one leads to anoth­er, which leads to yet anoth­er, and before long you are lost in the world of Jew­ish his­to­ry, cul­ture, spir­it, and soul.

As a fre­quent user of ref­er­ence tools, this long-time librar­i­an can attest that there are very few that are eas­i­er to use than this one and even few­er where you can be as assured that your search will be both effi­cient and suc­cess­ful. The Jew­ish Sto­ry Find­er is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed and should be used as a mod­el of clar­i­ty and ease-of-use for oth­er ref­er­ence works of its kind.

So go ahead, find the sto­ry that fits the moment. Enlight­en us; enter­tain us; enrich our world!

Relat­ed: Jew­ish Folk­tales Read­ing List

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and chil­dren’s book reviews. She has lec­tured on a vari­ety of top­ics relat­ing to chil­dren and books and her great­est joy is read­ing to her grand­chil­dren on both sides of the ocean. Michal lives in Great Neck, NY and Efrat, Israel.

Discussion Questions