Moses in Egypt
(Prince of Egypt)
My son, I have nothing I can give, but this chance that you may
live. With these words, a Hebrew mother places her infant son,
Moses, in a basket and sets him adrift on the Nile River. From his
carefree days as a prince of Egypt to his flight into the desert,
nothing can fully prepare Moses for what is to come. Lynne Reid Banks,
author of the best-selling novel The Indian in the Cupboard,
brings the timeless story of Moses to life in this spirited retelling.
Enriched with a full-color insert depicting characters and scenes
from the film, this is a popular format that will enable older children
to experience the movie again and again.
Banks is best known for The Indian in the Cupboard and its sequels. Choosing an accomplished author for this novel based on the movie results in an immensely readable tale rather than the usual stilted fare produced as a movie tie-in. Although the book and movie both claim Exodus as the original source, they have made alterations to increase the tension between the main characters. In this version, Moses is brought to the palace and adopted by pharoah's wife, rather than by his daughter. Thus, Moses grows up as a brother to Ramses, who will later resist his requests to release the Hebrew slaves. In usual Hollywood fashion, a romantic interest is planted; Moses' future wife Tzipporah is a beautiful, strong-willed Bedouin girl. The liberties taken with the narrative do not detract from the biblical themes presented.
Brothers in Egypt
(Prince of Egypt)
Growing up as princes of Egypt, Moses and Rameses share a life full
of action, adventure, mischief, and brotherly love. But all that changes
when Moses learns of his true identity and his connection to the Hebrew
slaves who toil for his father. Focusing on the relationship between
Moses and Rameses, this compelling chapterbook follows the life of
the two brothers--up until the fateful day when Moses leaves the
palace and flees into the desert. Written in an accessible style,
with simple sentences and short chapters, this is an ideal way for
intermediate readers to recapture the drama and excitement of
The Prince of Egypt.
The Star and the Sword
Two Jewish children, Benedict and Elvira, are suddenly orphaned after a
pogrom in twelfth-century Yorkshire, England, shattering their contented
and comfortable lives. Alone in a hostile world, they set out for Oxford,
where they have relatives. Along the way, they meet Robin Hood and
his men in Sherwood Forest. Many exciting adventures follow, including
a hazardous journey to London with a Crusader knight. The Knight has
in his bag a relic of his travels, the significance of which proves more
remarkable as the story unfolds.
When I Left My Village
This companion to Schur's Day
of Delight follows a family of Ethiopian
Jews (the Beta Israel) in their escape from drought and persecution. Traveling
at night on foot through mountains, plains, and desert, 12-year-old Menelik,
his parents, and younger brother head for a Sudanese refugee camp. From
there, the people are airlifted to Israel; given homes, clothing, and food; and
assimilated into a culture that offers them freedom, safety, and equality. The
boy tells the story of the perilous journeyof days filled with hunger, fear of
discovery, and death; of a furtive border crossing; of weeks of unsanitary
living in the crowded camp; and, finally, of resettlement in a small white hut
in the hills near Jerusalem. The book reads like a true adventure story. Pinkney's
full-page, black-and-white scratchboard illustrations add reality to this
fictionalized account of the recent rescue mission that saved the remnants of
a little-known civilization. A map of the Middle East shows the family's escape
route, and an author's note adds historical information.
Winner of The Sydney Taylor Award (The Association of Jewish Libraries)
The author of Lisa's
War turns to a another grim chapter in Jewish history: the kidnapping and forced
conversion of Jewish boys by the Russian Czar's army in the 19th century. Her carefully
researched story is told, in alternation, by two young men. Aaron, 16, the highly
respected best student at Odessa's yeshiva, is soon to be married; though carefully
observant, and knowing it's forbidden, he is secretly meeting his betrothed (innocently --
they debate subjects like Job). After one tryst, he is kidnapped by Zev, a vengeful
former classmate who's jealous of Aaron's brilliance and prospects. Zev is also
observant, but he's been brutalized by abuse; without a qualm, he sends Aaron
into the horror--and almost certain death--of the army. Starved, beaten, humiliated,
and driven without respite, Aaron is one of the few survivors in his original group,
but -- after careful reasoning about God's commands--submits to baptism to save
his life. Zev, too, is caught; ironically, he contrives to avoid conversion. With two
friends, Aaron plots escape, only to be caught by Zev, who ends by coming with
them -- and betraying Aaron yet again. Vicious and unrepentant, Zev is more than
a foil for Aaron's moral struggle against a hatred that can only destroy him too; he
is chillingly believable. To her credit, Matas offers them no reconciliation; and
conscientious Aaron knows that he also bears some guilt for what has passed
between them. A harrowing, thought-provoking, skillfully written novel about a
past whose evil legacy persists.
Winner of Sydney Taylor Book Award (Association of Jewish Libraries)
Masada : The Last Fortress
Miklowitz personalizes history in this account of the fall of Masada
as seen through the eyes of a young Jewish man helping to hold the
fort, and of the Roman commander who is trying to foil the Jews'
last stand. Seventeen-year-old Simon ben Eleazar, son of Masada's
commander, is an excellent narrator who explains how the Jews
have come to be at the mountain fortress, what they are fighting for,
and how, in the end, they choose to commit suicide rather than give
the Romans the satisfaction of taking them as prisoners. As for Flavius
Silva, the Roman commander, Miklowitz succeeds in making him
multilayered: true to his job, furious at the Jewish holdouts, yet admiring
of their strength, and disgusted by one of his military leaders who fights
without honor. The historical facts, a blend of the everyday and the
dramatic, show how people can find hope, beauty, and even love in
the midst of the most dire of circumstances--and how history is made
up of real people, not so different from those reading about it. A powerful offering.
The Endless Steppe :
Growing Up in Siberia
A young Polish girl, her mother, and her grandmother, taken prisoners
by the Russians during World War II and shipped to a forced-labor
camp in a remote, impoverished Siberian village, somehow manage to
stay together and alive through near starvation and harsh arctic winters.
Winner of Sydney Taylor Award (Association of Jewish Libraries)
Out of Many Waters
Kidnapped from their parents during the Portuguese
Inquisition and sent to work as slaves at a monastery
in Brazil, two Jewish sisters attempt to make their way
back to Europe to find their parents, but instead one
becomes part of a group founding the first Jewish
settlement in the United States.
Escape from Egypt : A Novel
Levitin has written a book that is troubling, moving -- and that
forces its readers to think. Quite a combination, especially when
presented in that much-maligned genre, historical fiction. The
story Levitin tells is hardly new. It is the biblical tale of the
Exodus, the Israelite flight from Egypt, here seen from the
point of view of two teenagers, Jesse, a Hebrew slave, and
Jennat, a half-Egyptian, half-Syrian girl. The pair meet when
they work together learning jewelry-making, but their burgeoning
relationship is dwarfed by momentous events. Moses has come to
gather the Jewish people; he is going to make Pharaoh let them go.
The biblical setting provides the wider context for a drama that is
primarily a human one. Plagues and miracles swirl around real people
who are so enmeshed in their own lives and passions that, at times,
they seem almost oblivious to the spectacle threatening to engulf
them. This human scale is the great strength of the novel. Levitin
makes myth manageable, bringing it right into the lives of modern-day
In After the War, Matas related the story of a
15-year-old concentration camp survivor, Ruth Mendelson,
and told of her journey from Poland to Palestine. The
Garden is set in and around Kibbutz David, where Ruth
now lives. It is November 1947, and the United Nations is
preparing to vote on a plan to partition Palestine into Jewish
and Arab lands. Ruth describes the difficulties the kibbutzniks
face as British troops stand by and Arabs attack. She struggles
with conflicting feelings about armed confrontation and longs
for peace and security. Ruth is a courageous, sensitive young
woman whose actions, ideas, and ideals are genuine and
thought-provoking. Her first-person, present-tense narration is
engrossing and unaffected. The other characters are well
delineated, particularly Ruth's wisecracking boyfriend. The
Garden is a riveting, relevant novel that raises tough questions
and provides no easy answers. It will be useful in units on war
and conflict, but it's also a truly good read.
|Czar Nicholas's soldiers enter all the Russian villages and seize the Jewish boys for the military, but Mendel, only twelve years old, knows he is too young to fight and makes a desperate attempt to reach the border in order to flee to safety. He travels on foot, by train, and by horse to the Hungarian border to safety and a chance to reach America. The harsh conditions for the poor under Czar Nicholas I are realistically drawn, but the heart of the book is a survival adventure story.|
Rooftop Secrets and Other Stories of Anti-Semitism
Each of these eight short stories describes a Jewish child's bout with anti-Semitism, from
the Spanish Inquisition to modern times. Each story includes a brief introduction that
places it in the proper historical perspective, and is followed by a commentary by Albert
Vorspan, a writer on social justice. Some of the stories do not stand on their own as
literature but serve only as case studies. A notable exception is the very moving tale of
one boy's questioning of faith during the Holocaust and his ultimate heroic decision.
Throughout the book, historic information is deftly interwoven. For most effective use,
this book will require a skilled teacher or discussion leader to extend the text. Some of
the stories, especially ``Spraypaint Justice,'' set in contemporary America, contain
stereotypes that are cleared up in the commentary, but could be damaging if the
commentary is not read. This book does promote pride in Jewish values and endurance.
Don Yosef Nasi:
A marrano's rise to power
A dramatization of the story of Don Yosef Nasi and his mother-in-law,
Dona Gracia, marranos who rose to be among the most influential
figures in Europe and Asia.
A Place Not Home
|The story of a young Jewish girl and her family try to flee Hungary during the 1956 revolution.|
The House on Walenska Street
Esther lives on Walenska Street in Nesvich, Russia, with her two sisters and
her mother. Her father has died and their life is hard as they try to make ends
meet. Mother depends on Esther to help take care of her younger
sisters. Esther's special job is to read the letters from their cousins in
America, and write back to them. The year is 1913, and she writes to tell
them all is well, and fantasizes about their life in America. This is a very
gentle story that reveals a lot about the trials and tribulations of simple
family life in the Russia of that day, and the hopes of going to a better
life. Esther is a good daughter, but has her rebellious moments. She runs off
and gets lost. She finds her way back, only to hide as Russian soldiers break
into their home to steal food and valuables. This is a touching story with
beautiful full-page illustrations, based on the life of the author's grandmother.
In this nostalgic collection of stories, three generations of strudel makers share personal
histories with children of the next generation. These stories are presented as the secret
ingredient to an excellent homemade strudel. In Sarah's kitchen, we hear tales of Eastern
European Jewry involving a little boy who cheated death twice. In Bertie's kitchen, we hear
about the immigration of a little girl who had the courage to turn her coat inside out when
the feared Ellis Island medical inspector marked her with the dreaded chalk "X." Willy, a
grandfather with a gift in the kitchen and a huge love for baseball, tells about the orphaned
refugee boy accepted into his family after the Holocaust. Classroom teachers could use this
book as a resource for an immigration unit. The stories are very sweet, like the pastry they
are named for. Several segments discuss the mechanics of strudel making and depict children
helping in the kitchen, waiting to be entertained by stories.
The Prince of Egypt: The Novel
Banks is best known for The Indian in the Cupboard and
its sequels. Choosing an accomplished author for this novel based
on the movie results in an immensely readable tale rather than the
usual stilted fare produced as a movie tie-in. Although the book and
movie both claim Exodus as the original source, they have made
alterations to increase the tension between the main characters. In this
version, Moses is brought to the palace and adopted by pharoah's
wife, rather than by his daughter. Thus, Moses grows up as a brother
to Ramses, who will later resist his requests to release the Hebrew
slaves. In usual Hollywood fashion, a romantic interest is planted; Moses'
future wife Tzipporah is a beautiful, strong-willed Bedouin girl. The
liberties taken with the narrative do not detract from the biblical themes presented.
Keeping Faith in the Dust
This is a unique recounting of a familiar story-the siege of Masada
in the first century C.E.-from the diary of a teenage girl.
Hannah begins her journal as a young girl of thirteen, wide-eyed
at family trips to the bustling market in Jerusalem and eagerly
anticipating her imminent womanhood. Yet she confides her
skepticism of Judaism, a religion that requires total devotion
and much personal sacrifice.
Yet as Hannah's family is forced to move first to Jerusalem, and then to Masada, her religious awakening provides her with the strength and inspiration to endure persecution, terror and shattering personal loss. By the end of her diary, Hannah embraces Judaism as fully as she embraces life-and ultimately death-among a band of courageous martyrs fighting for the survival of Israel.
The Cross by Day, Mezuzzah by Night
Isabel Caruso de Carvallo, a devout Catholic girl, is shocked to
learn that in reality she is Ruth de Cojano, a secret Jew, part
of a group referred to derogatorily by the Spanish Catholics as
Marranos. In 1492 on her thirteenth birthday, the age of Jewish
adulthood, Ruth is told about her great-grandparents, who were
forced to convert to Christianity or die. For 100 years, the
de Cojanos have lived in Seville as the Caruso de Carvallos,
practicing ancient Jewish rituals and reciting Hebrew prayers in
secret. Although all Marranos are in danger, Ruth's family has been
especially on guard: her father is the chief royal tax collector of
Seville, and the Inquisition relishes making examples of people in
high positions. If its true religion is revealed, the family faces
torture and burning at the stake. So Ruth, her parents, and her
infant brother prepare to flee their beloved Spain with the tens
of thousands of Jews being expelled. Through a gripping first-person
narrative, Ruth relays her feelings, her fears, and her confusion.
This commanding novel jars us through its portrayal of the senseless
brutality of the Spanish Inquisition and the expulsion of Spain's
Jews in the fifteenth century. It is a lesson related with suspense,
emotion, and lasting impact.
Lion And The Unicorn
It's hard to be brave. Lenny Levi has been trying ever since his father went off to fight
in World War II, leaving him with a medallion depicting a fighting unicorn and
lion. When bombs start to drop all around his house in London, his mother puts
him on a train to the country for safety. There, mean children make fun of him
and, well, being brave seems almost impossible. Thankfully, Lenny discovers a
safe haven, a walled garden with a lonely looking stone unicorn, and he retreats
there often. When he meets a quiet one-legged young man in the garden one
day, Lenny slowly begins to learn the deeper meaning of courage. Once again,
Shirley Hughes displays an unwavering sense of character, and beautifully
colored, soft illustrations place the narrative in its physical and emotional
context. Her sensitivity to the nuances of feelings in young people makes her
stories profoundly appealing and satisfying. In this story of fear and loneliness,
she brings the experiences of a time gone by into the present with clarity,
wisdom, and elegance.
Plots and Players
|1594 and a young Shakespeare is working on a new play, The Merchant of Venice, amid growing anti-Jewish sentiment in England. Three Jewish children try to save Queen Elizabeth's Jewish physician when he's falsely accused of spying for Spain. Can the children help Shakespeare see the prejudice of his work? Can they save the doctor?|
One More River
Lesley's life is perfect until her wealthy father decides to give up everything and
move the family to a kibbutz in Israel to get them back to their roots. The
adjustment is hard on everyone and is complicated by the onset of the Six-Day
War. Dramatic conflict and personal acclimatization are both depicted with a
strong sense of reality.
The Deeper Song
Judith, the daughter of a high priest working on King Solomon's temple, feels there is no
place for her in G-d's patriarchal form of Judaism. So at great personal risk, she joins
the goddess cult of Asherah. After a massacre at the sacred grove, Judith is discovered,
and the servant girl who brought her to the initiation is murdered by order of Judith's father.
At the initiation ceremony Judith meets Samuel, a cousin who understands how she feels
about being a smart, educated young woman in a society that doesn't know what to do
with such a creature. But Samuel has a plan for Judith. Since her greatest talent is
storytelling, he wants her to write down the oral tradition of the Jewish people, creating
a book that will become Judaism's cornerstone. At first, Judith does not want to do
anything to help her father's religion. She comes to see, however, that she has the ability
to do what no other scribe can--incorporate the lives and the power of Jewish women
into the stories.
It is likely that few teens have any knowledge of the biblical war between Judaism and the goddess-cult religions, circa 550 B.C.E., but even without that underpinning, readers will quickly come to understand what is at stake for Judith. She's a strong character, but like Samuel (a caring supportive '90s kind of guy), she has a modernity to her characterization that often fits uncomfortably into the setting. The theory that a woman may have written parts of the Old Testament came to public attention in Harold Bloom's The Book of J (1990), which Pfitsch only credits briefly. After Judith takes on her own role as writer, the book comes to a too-quick conclusion; however, the irony of a woman writing down the sacred stories is well developed and one of the book's strongest points.
Jerusalem Diaries and Other Stories
Festival stories spanning 2,000 years of the Holy City's history.
I read this book when I was much younger, and I have a fuzzy memory of enjoying most of the stories. But the one story that I still remember clearly -- and that is worth the price of the entire book -- is "Reb Aharon in Search of a Miracle." Despite its rather cumbersome title, this story -- about a young Jewish boy blinded by a grenade in Jerusalem in 1910 -- is truly affecting.
The Storyteller, Vol. 1
The Storyteller, Vol. 2
The Storyteller, Vol. 3
The Storyteller, Vol. 4
The Storyteller, Vol. 5
Jewish stories are part of the heritage of our people, often capturing
the essence of Jewish experience. The stories in this volume will
provide hours of reading enjoyment for older children and teenagers.
Parents and teachers will turn to them again and again when they are
called upon to be storytellers themselves. The contribution of Nissan
Mindel to the treasury of Jewish stories is inestimable. He has, for the
past five decades, researched and presented to both English and
Yiddish-reading audiences stories mined from sources inaccessible
to the average American Jew. They cover a wide range of subjects:
great Jewish personalities, the festivals, Jewish life in medieval and
pre-Holocaust times, the Holocaust, and life behind the Iron Curtain.
The world of innkeeper and nobleman, shepherd and woodchopper,
spice merchant and gem dealer, comes alive to reveal to us the
workings of Divine Providence or the events that shaped Jewish history.
Out Of The Depths
By the mid-nineteenth century, many wealthy European Jewish families,
lured by new-found political freedom and riches, had abandoned the
Torah way of life in favor of high society. When Edward Lindenstein,
the arrogant and frivolous scion of one such family, married Minna,
a religious girl, there were bound to be difficulties. This enthralling
novelette traces Edward & Minnas shifting fortunes from the capitals
of Europe to the far-flung shores of Africa and South America. A tale
of greed, deceit, piracy on the high seas, and the ultimate triumph of faith.
The Broken Bracelet
To escape the persecution of the Inquisition, the four members of
Rabbi Zacuto's family leave Lisbon for Constantinople but become
separated on the way and are only reunited after many years of
harrowing adventures. A tale of family and
adventure that will not be put down till the end.
Naftali the Storyteller and His Horse, Sus and Other Stories
by Isaac Bashevis Singer
|A collection of short stories which explores the humor and life of the people of Poland.|
The Rabbi's Girls
Rabbi Levin teaches his daughters that life is both bitter and good in this
account of a crucial year for the Levin family, as "seen through the eyes of
11-year-old Carrie. And fine eyes they are, that create with a sense of
strength and gentleness, joy and sadness, and draw characters that are
convincingly and memorable."--Language Arts.
The Cohens of Tzefat
The 2,00 year saga of a Jewish family overcoming all odds, from Roman legions to Arab artillery.
A wounded Jewish officer in the Yom Kippur War feels his mind fill with a panorama of
events tracing the history of his people and his part of Israel.
The moving and exciting story of the Cohen family, traced through exciting vignettes of historical fiction, spanning the course of 2,000 years.
The Great Potato Plan
Simcha thought that he, Mama and the little ones would soon
be on their way to join papa in America. But when a terrible
war breaks out in europe they are unable to leave Warsaw.
Simcha knows Papa expects him to keep the family safe while
they are apart. Can Simcha come up with a plan to save his
family from starvation and from attacks by Russian soldiers?
|Prince Of Akko||
The swashbuckling story of Chaim Farhi, a heroic young Jew
who comes to grips with the most cruel. greedy, dishonest,
Jew-hating pasha in all of Palestine.