The Day the Rabbi Disappeared: Jewish Holiday Tales of Magic

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9780670887330: The Day the Rabbi Disappeared: Jewish Holiday Tales of Magic

In this holiday collection, rabbis famous for their knowledge and powers--including women rabbis--bring about miracles, reveal the secret meanings of dreams and names, and contend with angels, dybbuks, and enchantments. Noted folklorist Howard Schwartz retells twelve Jewish tales from around the world. Each tale combines elements of magic with a link to a Jewish holiday (including Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah, Purim, and Passover), plus Shabbat, the weekly Sabbath.

"This beautiful collection of Jewish stories is true to its heritage....[with] universal appeal."--Kirkus Reviews on Next Year in Jerusalem

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From Publishers Weekly:

Noted storyteller Schwartz (Next Year in Jerusalem) outdoes himself in this expertly presented and well-conceived collection. Each of the dozen tales takes place during a different Jewish holiday, from Rosh Hashanah and Lag ba-Omer to the major festivals (Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot) and the Sabbath, and each reveals different facets of Jewish history and culture. To an already rich mixture, Schwartz brings extra luster with an element virtually guaranteed to hook young readers: magic. In an Afghan tale for Yom Kippur, a man stumbles upon a cottage filled with blazing oil candles, each representing a person's soul and its presence in the world. Some have plenty of oil, some are nearly emptyDthe man's own candle seems about to burn out and, since the keeper of the candles is not looking, what if he takes some oil from another candle? The supplementary material included with each story proves nearly as gripping. For that Yom Kippur story, for example, Schwartz follows up with a concise description of the holiday and succinct discussions of the story's specific biblical roots, the possible identity of the keeper of the candles, the theme of divine tests (e.g., the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden) and the Jewish idea of justice. Debut illustrator Passicot contributes dreamlike compositions in black and white. The play between light and dark in her subtle shading beautifully expresses the tales' mystical dimensions. Ages 8-up.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 6 Up-A dozen folktales of Jewish mysticism-each of them about a noted rabbi who, with God's help, causes a miracle to occur. The stories span the ages (5th-century Babylonia to 19th-century Eastern Europe) and include tales from European and Middle Eastern countries and northern Africa. The Kabbalists told stories of rabbis going on heavenly journeys in order to study mystical secrets. They spoke of dreams in which God communicated with special people in order to protect or save the Jews in times of great danger, and of certain rabbis who, by invoking God's true name, gained the power to perform miracles to help their people in times of crisis. Schwartz has chosen each story for its link to a specific holiday. Just as the stories are steeped in Jewish mystical tradition, the author's notes on each one rely heavily on readers having some knowledge of Judaic holiday customs and ceremonies in order to avoid confusion. It is said that no one should study Kabbalah before reaching the age of 40. One needs to acquire a basic knowledge of Jewish beliefs and practices before delving into the mystical side of the religion. This collection is most appropriate for use in religious or secular schools where discussion led by a knowledgeable teacher can add clarity and depth to the tales.
Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Schwartz, Howard
Published by Viking Juvenile (2000)
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Schwartz, Howard
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