The Rab­bi and the Twen­ty-Nine Witches

Mar­i­lyn Hirsh
  • Review
By – November 1, 2011
When I think back on the Jew­ish lit­er­a­ture of my child­hood, one book stands out: The Rab­bi and the Twen­ty-nine Witch­es. Twen­ty- some years lat­er, the ele­men­tary school stu­dents in our con­gre­ga­tion held a read­ers’ choice award com­pe­ti­tion, and their love of this 1976 clas­sic not only made it a nom­i­nee, but the ulti­mate win­ner. Now, repeat­ed pleas from across the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty bring this Tal­mu­dic tale back into print. Appear­ing just as it first did 33 years ago, this tale of how one rab­bi leads a group of men to rid their town of a near­by coven of witch­es, with its black, white, and blue water­col­or illus­tra­tions, is clear­ly time­less in its appeal. Kids love the sub­ject, and have nev­er encoun­tered some of these char­ac­ters in Jew­ish lit­er­a­ture before. It is at once refresh­ing and authen­tic. The book not only makes a great read-aloud; hear­ing it com­pels chil­dren to pick it up for a clos­er look at the details of the illus­tra­tions and anoth­er read of the sto­ry. A must-buy for Jew­ish col­lec­tions, as your old copy is prob­a­bly dogeared and falling apart from all the love it has received over the years. For ages 5 – 10.

Read­ing Guide

Natasha Berg­son-Michel­son MLIS, is the librar­i­an at the Hirschberg Fam­i­ly Childdren’s Library at Penin­su­la Tem­ple Sholom in Burlingame, CA. Pre­vi­ous­ly, she was librar­i­an for Niehaus Ryan­Wong, Inc. and the McKEn­na Group, both in Sil­i­con Val­ley. She also writes for the online tuto­r­i­al Googleguide​.com.

Discussion Questions