Israel Books

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For biographies of individuals associated with the history of Israel (Golda Meir, Theodor Herzl, etc.), go to the Biographies

General Jewish History & Nonfiction | Biblical Era | European History (Excluding the Holocaust) | Immigration & The American Experience | Holocaust | Israel (Page 1) (Page 2) (Page 3) (Page 4) (Page 5)

Plays of Israel Reborn

(Grades 3-5)

By L. E. McCullough
Twelve original plays drawn from the flowering of Jewish culture during the Diaspora and the modern rebirth of Judaism worldwide—tales of Hasidic wit and wisdom, Midrash and Haggadah stories, legends of the Kaballah, Sephardic and Ashkenazic and more.

Description from Publisher

A worthwhile addition. These 12 plays explore the history and culture of the Jewish people during the Diaspora, beginning with their expulsion from the ancient land of Israel and culminating in the declaration of the modern Jewish state in 1948. They draw from a wide variety of Judaic sources, including the Kaballah, Midrash, holiday stories, folktales, and actual historical events. Several plays combine thematically similar elements gleaned from legend and lore; for example, "Nitwits and Numskulls: Outwitting the Oppressor" weaves together three different tales that celebrate the cleverness of the Jews in surviving social and political oppression. A few of the selections focus on important individuals such as the Baal Shem Tov and Theodor Herzl. Clearly written staging, casting, and costuming instructions accompany each play; in addition, the majority include a musical score consisting of one or more songs, mostly traditional Yiddish and Hebrew tunes but a few written by the author. Humor abounds, particularly in those plays that draw on Jewish folklore. However, the ones that depict historical moments are predictably more somber in tone, and occasionally seem too long to hold the interest of the intended audience. In addition, a few of the selections suffer from a repetitive format that quickly loses its luster. Still, the author encourages those producing these plays to use whatever creative means they have available to make them their own, and provides a worthy foundation toward that end.

Description from School Library Journal

Welcome to Israel

By Meredith Costain
In this unique series format, a child introduces his or her home country. This title offers readers a glimpse of everyday life in Israel, including what their schools, families, homes, cities, festivals, native foods, sports, and leisure activities are like. This book also features a guide to common phrases and numbers in their native language, a map, a regional recipe, activities important to their native culture, and a fact file of vital statistics about their country.

Description from Publisher

Israel in Pictures

By Steve Feinstein
Historically connected to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Israel excites many opinions. A nation since 1948, Israel has been at war for much of its 40-year history. This book introduces readers to the problems Israel faces as well as to its many achievements.

Description from Publisher

The Dead Sea Scrolls

By Ilene Cooper
It's hard to know which is more amazing--that the artifacts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls survived for 2,000 years, or that their reported discovery, reassembly, and translation were accomplished despite the hurdles created by war-torn countries and the uncooperative acts of competing scientists. Cooper (Buddy Love, 1995, etc.) establishes both a timeline and a relative order to the chaotic events surrounding the story of the scrolls' discovery. As the story goes, they were found hidden in a cave by two Bedouin shepherd boys. Their tribe sold the scrolls to several different dealers, and also swept up scraps of the crumbling scrolls from the cave floors: This made the work of the scholars who studied the scrolls extremely tedious and frustrating. Some of the scholars became overzealous and refused to allow others access to the parts they were working on. The finding of the scrolls took place in 1947, but it wasn't until the 1990s that many of the texts became available publicly. Cooper unravels this tangled knot of information, jumping between ancient and more recent historical references, letting readers know when there are conflicting facts, and providing back matter that further reveals the complications of this archaeological enigma.

Description from Kirkus Reviews

In a clear, accessible text, Cooper relates the dramatic story of a Bedouin shepherd's chance discovery, the struggle by scientists and scholars to purchase the scrolls, the painstaking methods used to piece together the thousands of scroll fragments, and the current technology being used to analyze the documents. Photorealistic illustrations accompany this careful unearthing of an important episode in the field of archaeology.

Description from Horn Book

Menachem Begin

By Virginia Brackett
Israel’s most well-known leader, Menachem Begin was a fierce defender of the new nation. He longed for the united Israel of ancient times, and fought for more than 30 years for that vision. He was awarded the Nobel peace prize for his role in reaching the Camp David Accord with Anwar Sadat, and is seen by many as a man of vision.

Description from Publisher

Klal Yisrael :
Our Jewish Community

By Ann Ricki Hurwitz
Prepare your students to become active participants in the Jewish community with this hands-on introduction to the widely scattered communities of the Jewish world. This combined text and activity book brings to life the entire spectrum of the Jewish community.

From the earliest Jewish roots in colonial America to recent efforts to bring Soviet Jews to Israel, from the local home for the aged to national Jewish organizations and Israeli institutions and agencies, Klal Yisrael is a record of Jewish outreach.

Description from Publisher

Bar & Bat Mitzvah in Israel :
The Ultimate Family Sourcebook

By Judith Isaacson
This is The Sourcebook for families of any Jewish denomination who are interested in celebrating a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in Israel. This well organized and easy to read book includes information on:
  • finding a rabbi to lead and coordinate the event,
  • resources for children with special needs,
  • celebrating in ancient and modern synagogues, national parks, and kibbutzim
  • museum receptions,
  • theme events,
  • weekday and Shabbat ceremonies,
  • rustic or elegant affairs all over the country. Unique features include:
  • Torah Tie-In Adventures which connects Torah readings with fun and interesting adventures in Israel and
  • Tikkun Olam: Mitzvot to Prepare at home and Perform in Israel.

    English Speaking Reliable Contacts are listed as well as Web Sites, E Mail addresses and Fax Numbers. This information will enable a family to plan the celebration via a home computer and fax machine!

    Description from Publisher

  • The Ancient Hebrews

    By Kenny Mann
    Good-quality full-color photographs, reproductions, drawings, and maps combine with lucid texts to create informative and attractive research sources on ancient cultures. The Ancient Hebrews discusses the social and religious history of the Jewish people and its influence on modern Judaism, and touches on the relationship between present-day Israel and Arab countries. Sidebars provide additional information on the language, literature, law, and beliefs of Israeli society. Helpful glossaries and time lines are also included. Eye-catching, useful titles for collections needing historical material about the Middle East

    Description from School Library Journal


    By Deborah Kent

    Myriam Mendilow: Mother of Jerusalem

    Do Not Forsake Me when I Grow Old
    An inspiring book whose subject can be a role model for us all. Educated in Palestine and France, Mendilow taught in the Alliance Schools for many years. After her marriage, she learned English and eventually taught it in the Hebrew University where her husband was a professor and administrator. Upon returning to Jerusalem, she became aware of the poor, elderly Jews from Eastern countries who sat idly around the marketplace, and decided to open a club/workshop where they could regain their dignity and earn some money. She later tackled other problems of the elderly poor, fighting for health, dental, and foot-care clinics. She also originated the "Meals on Wheels'' program. What is particularly appealing about this book is that it shows what can be done through dedication and devotion at a grassroots level to change a disastrous social situation. There are also interesting descriptions of life in pre-state Israel. The writing is conversational and anecdotal. Abundant, good-quality black-and-white photographs appear throughout.

    Description from School Library Journal

    Israel ... in Pictures By Stephen C. Feinstein
    Historically connected to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Israel excites many opinions. A nation since 1948, Israel has been at war for much of its 40-year history. This book introduces readers to the problems Israel faces as well as to its many achievements.

    Description from Publisher

    The Munich Olympics

    By Hal Marcovitz
    The world watched in horror as Palestinian terrorists invaded the Olympic Village. These deadly events forever changed the atmosphere in which the Games are played.

    Provides an account of the terrorist attacks against Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympic games, profiling some of the individuals involved and exploring the political and historical reasons for the acts.

    Description from Publisher

    Story of Reb Yosef Chaim
    Recounts the stories of everyday people, some famous and some unknown, who lived in Jerusalem during the last hundred years.

    (Food and Festivals Series)

    By Ronne Randall
    Describes how different kinds of food common in various regions of Israel are grown and prepared and the part foods play during Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Hanukkah, and a Bar Mitzvah. Includes recipes.

    Description from Publisher

    Israel : An Illustrated History

    By Daniel J. Schroeter
    Historic photos, archival documents, and art reproductions, together with excerpts from primary sources, enrich this attractive volume, which authoritatively plumbs Israel's long history. The initial section traces the ancient Israelites from the prebiblical times of the eleventh century BCE to the rise of Islam in the seventh century CE. The second chapter picks up the account of Palestine for the next 1,300 years, a time of Muslim rule. Other chapters explore the rise of Zionism and the persistent conflicts between Jews and Arabs over the land, as well as the British influence in the strategic, ever-volatile area. The role of Palestinian Jews during World War II, the declaration of the modern state of Israel in 1948, and the crises and achievements of the nation during its first 50 years occupy the concluding chapters. Fascinating sidebars of information--e.g., about the Mossad, Israel's internal security service; the ingathering of Ethiopian Jews; the Zionist philanthropy of Baron Edmond de Rothschild -- help Schroeter compress telling details in his comprehensive coverage. His insights into modern Israeli life are abundant and honestly address the social and economic tensions and the pressing security concerns of the culturally diverse nation. This up-to-date, significant history will bolster library collections.

    Description from Booklist

    Basic Judaism for Young People :

    By Naomi Pasachoff
    Use concepts to teach history, stories to teach morality, heroes to teach values. The teachers and sages of the past mastered this teaching strategy--and it is as appropriate today as it was in talmudic times. The Basic Judaism series weaves together history, belief, ritual, halachah, and tradition to convey the richly textured fabric of Jewish life. This encyclopedic course can be taught in discrete units; includes photographs and artwork.

    Contents include: Eretz Yisrael, Klal Yisrael, Yerushalayim, Tzionut, Aliyah, Tzedakah, Bet Knesset, Pikuah, and Nefesh

    Description from Publisher

    Teddy Kollek,
    Builder of Jerusalem
    After only one year in office, Teddy Kollek was growing bored being mayor of Jerusalem; then the 1967 Six Day War brought him monumental challenges. The war resulted in the reunification of the ancient city, and Kollek became mayor not only of the newer, Jewish portion of Jerusalem but also of the old city with its Arab residents and Christian, Muslem, and Jewish holy places. Rabinovich conveys the persuasive and personal leadership style and the unwavering dedication that earned Kollek respect as he oversaw Jerusalem's reconstruction. Renowned for his 28-year tenure as Jerusalem's mayor, he led a productive and full life prior to taking office. How he came to be a pioneer in Palestine, his work as a secret agent for the Jewish Agency--the unofficial government of the Jewish people in Palestine -- helping European Jews escape Nazi clutches, and his job procuring weapons for the new state of Israel make fast and fascinating reading. With generously, if sometimes disjointedly, interspersed anecdotes of behind-the-scenes incidents and insights into Kollek's personality and character, this biography will fill a gap in contemporary Israeli history collections.

    Description from Booklist

    General Jewish History & Nonfiction | Biblical Era | European History (Excluding the Holocaust) | Immigration & The American Experience | Holocaust | Israel (Page 1) (Page 2) (Page 3) (Page 4) (Page 5)

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