Tisha B’Av: A Jerusalem Journey

Alli­son Ofanansky
  • Review
By – March 25, 2017

Spend­ing a day with a young boy as he tells us about his tour through Jerusalem to learn about the somber hol­i­day of Tisha B’Av becomes an engag­ing read full of infor­ma­tion despite the dry top­ic. Col­or­ful pho­tographs in a var­ied lay­out show read­ers what our nar­ra­tor sees as he fol­lows guides with his lit­tle broth­er and old­er cousin. They not only gaze at the city from above or right in front, but go deep under it to see cen­turies-buried sec­tions of the Tem­ple Wall. The chil­dren look down deep­er than they can walk as they gaze though glass at ancient finds. They get a hands-on chance to do their own sift­ing in the Tem­ple Mount archae­o­log­i­cal dig. They hur­ry home before dark because their grown-ups need to eat before a day-long fast which chil­dren do not have to fol­low. Read­ers learn the his­to­ry of our two tem­ples, destroyed 70 years apart, but on the same day. They learn Tisha B’Av is a sym­bol of Jew­ish suf­fer­ing and a day of mourn­ing both Tem­ples. Hol­i­day cus­toms include recall­ing oth­er trag­ic events such as the Cru­sades, sit­ting on the ground rather than on chairs, read­ing Lamen­ta­tions, not swim­ming, and not wear­ing leather. In a cute, point­ed end­ing the baby knocks over the narrator’s block mod­el of the Tem­ple – just what Tisha B’Av is all about.

Rec­om­mend­ed for read­ers ages 5 – 9.

Ellen G. Cole, the librar­i­an of the Levine Library of Tem­ple Isa­iah in Los Ange­les, is a past judge of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards and a past chair­per­son of that com­mit­tee. She is a co-author of the AJL guide, Excel­lence in Jew­ish Children’s Lit­er­a­ture. Ellen is the recip­i­ent of two major awards for con­tri­bu­tion to Juda­ic Librar­i­an­ship, the Fan­ny Gold­stein Mer­it Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries and the Dorothy Schroed­er Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. She is on the board of AJLSC.

Discussion Questions