Books for the Younger Set Rich in Jewish Lore
Children's book shelves need ex-
as a result of recently
published stories for the young
of all ages.
A large number of volumes of
many by Jewish
Jew ish illustra-
tors, emerge as
tors towards the
enlarge in e n t of
the library devot-
ed to youth.
Sabra Books, the
Taslitt 'srael publishing
project. and Funk and Wagnalls
has aided in the expansion of chil-
dren's book publishing. A number
of splendid titles, on general and
historical subjects, relating to Is-
rael. the Diaspora, Bible and other
heroes. enhance this collection of
not able works.
Of interest to Bible students is
risks in order to become
fledged member of the new tion
that is being forged, and to be
able to stand on his own two feet.
When in the spring of 1967, wt
clouds gather 83- er the Middl
East. large Arab forces surround)
Israel and promise a war of de-
The emergency situation that Uri
Cohen has trained for all those
years arrives. He is now called on
to lead a group of frogmen com-
mandos whose mission is to
sabotage Egyptian naval units.
This takes place in the early
stages of the Six-Day War between
Israel and the Arab countries.
The details of the Israeli frog-
man operations in the Six-Day War
are still shrouded in secrecy, but
as the author says in her dedica-
tion, this hook is ''for Uri and his
power and exacted vengeance
from the Philistines. In "Samson
—The Strongest Boy Who Ever
Lived." Israel I. Taslitt, an
American writer who now re-
sides in Tel Aviv, draws upon
the famous story for a full-length
tale in which Samson is portray-
ed in his youth, before he had
Mg of the state of Israel.
Although fictional, this young
readers' novel is based on fact
the tenuous kind of fact that keeps
Israel alive from day to day. It
paints an exciting and dramatic
friends. whose experiences served
as background, for this book."
The same determination and sta-
mina which gain. Uri admission to
the frogmen's unit give him the
strength to face his own inner
the story of the hero who fought. weaknesses and mature into a man
defeated, was himself shorn of who is a vital force in the slap
engaged in battle against the
Taslitt wrote his story for popu-
lar youth consumption. In this
Sabra-Funk and Wagnalls product.
he has portrayed a fantasy—Sam-
son before he was shorn of his
power, Samson who was readying
to become his people's savior,
Samson who was to come to Gaza
to wage battle against the enemies
of the Israelites.
Inspired by legend from histor-
ical records, the Samson story
lends itself well as an inspiration
for children who love adventure.
who admire courage. Samson as
depicted by TaSlitt possess these
The Taslitt story, illustrated by
Luisada, has the special merit of
introducing his readers to the Is-
rael panorama, to the cities where.
in the Bible story, Samson was to
emerge the hero, albeit he was to
PATH BENEATH THE SEA
Another Sabra Book-Funk and
Wagnalls volume worthy of special
note is the story about a Moroc-
can youth. "Path Beneath the
Sea by Devorah Omer. The au-
thor of this splendid narrative had
written a previous important work,
"The Gideonites," in which was
related the story of the famous
Jewish woman who contributed to
Israel's early history — Sarah
Aaronsohn's epic role in the early
days of Zionist pioneering.
Miss Omer, a kibutz-trained
young woman, has caught the
spirit of Israeli youth's interest in
adventure and in the conglomerate
character of Israel. In her new
story she deals with a boy from
Morocco, his life as an immigrant
when he arrives in Israel at the
age of 16, how he becomes a frog-
man and how his love for the sea
gives him status as a citizen of
the homeland to which he returned
and in which he finds respect.
The mysterious activities of the
Israeli Navy's most elite corps. its
frogmen, are the absorbing subject
of "Path Beneath the Sea." It is
the story of that division's mag-
netic lure for young Taboul Cohen.
The book was published on May
14, the 21st anniversary of Israel's
Taboul changes his name to Uri;
he trains hard and becomes an
expert diver. He realizes from the
very first that the men in this spe-
cial group of volunteers can, in
an emergency, be called upon to
undertake the most.dangerous mis
picture of the heroic exploits of
Israel s volunteer frogmen and at
the same time depicts a disadvan-
taged immigrant's problems of
acculturation into Israeli society.
"Path Beneath the Sea" is an
excellently written tale that adds
immensely to the available narra-
tives about Israel and Israelis. Its
author gains status as a writer of
tales for the young in and about
Her story was translated from
discuss them, then we should do captive who learns the terrors of
so modestly by using euphem- slavery.
isms and metaphors."
How he comes to New England,
Dr. Rosenthal's introductory es- adjusting after his experiences,
Prayer and flattery, benevol- say, his review of the life of the is related by the slave and a phy-
ence and justice, lust and sen- great philosopher who "died of sician. It is a revealing account
suality, silence and speech, the overwork and fatigue," the epitaph of a condition that is drawing
Hebrew language and sex—these on whose grave in Tiberias reads: worldwide attention leading to
are but a few of the many topics "From Moses (the biblical leader) succor.
• • •
the totality of which make this a to Moses (Maimonidesi there was
valuable work for the youth and none like Moses," is a fine tribute ;
an equally commendable one for to the man whose legacy "was, : Very young readers, and tots to
adult students of Maimonides.
be read to, will thrill in the text
and still is, enormous."
commentator, on moral values,
spiritual needs, business dealings,
ethical lore and a score of human
Perhaps there is a lesson for our
time in the selection from Mai-
monides on "The Hebrew Language
and Sex." The philosopher of long
work to the chil-
Maimonides. Under the title "Mai-
an's accomplishments and his cur-
rent hope recorded in a chapter
"Battle for Peace. •"
brew has no special names for
the genital organs, neither for
male nor female, nor does it
have any explicit terms for
copulation, semen, or ova. All of
these terms are described by
euphemisms or metaphors or
"The point is clear: we should
be chaste and discreet about
such matters. And if we must
And it is the story of his fam-
ily, his childhood. ht. south, his
labors for the defense of the Vis-
huv of Palestine before the
emergence of Israel. It is an ac-
count of a typical Israeli's inter-
ests in the development of the
country, in farming. in kibutz
life, and the share in the de-
fense of the land and the people.
That is why a chapter like
"From Farmer to Minister,"
leading up to Dayan's appoint-
ment as minister of defense, is
In two new Random House chil-
dren's books, Richard Scarry, as
narrator and illustrator, provides
attention-holding and exciting in-
terest for the very young readers.
In "The Supermarket Mystery"
and "The Great Pie Robbery,"
Scarry follows delightful routines.
There are cops and robbers, stories
marked by adventures, the very
Sile:ice and Speech
some human being. And the fewer the words, the less the chances for
sin. Of course, there are various categories of speech. Some speech is
purely damaging and devoid of any utility: some is partly damaging
and partly careful; some is totally innocuous: some is totally useful.
I prefer to divide human speech into five categories. The first category
consists of sacred speech which God commands us. By this I mean the
study of Bible, prayer, and any other verbal activities favored by
The second is speech forbidden to us by the Bible such as false
witness, lies, gossip, curses, obscenities, and slander. Slander is par-
ticularly evil: it destroys the slanderer, the listener. and the victim
alike. The third type is common speech which is neither useful nor sin-
ful. By this I mean the normal, daily, and idle talk common to most
humans. Pious people try to diminish such idle chatter.
The fourth is most desirable. It includes speech designed to exalt
intellectual faculties and ethical qualities while denigrating intellectual
and ethical defects. Through the techniques of stories and poems, such
speech attempts to develop ethical behavior in people. It warns the
listener to shun character defects; it praises virtuous people and lauds
their ways so as to stir the listener to emulate their example.
The fifth category of speech is practical talk — speech connected
with a person's business activities, food, drink, clothing, and other
daily necessities. Such speech is morally neutral; it is neither virtuous
nor evil. Nevertheless, it is best to keep such talk at a minimum. The
ethical man abstains totally from prohibited or sinful talk, and he
speaks but little of mundane matters. On the other hand, he speaks of
divine and intellectual matters all the days of his life.
The test of a good children's
story is both the picture and the
story, and in the Scarry tales both
elements .are unique, filled with
excitement, with the adventurous
casts of characters to which the
young to whom the stories will be
read as well as to those who have
learned themselves to read them
will wish to return time and again.
Scarry strikes good notes in mys-
terious narrations and he has
painted pictures related to texts
that will hold up for a long time
for the youngest readers.
• • •
TAKE THIS HAMMER
Sam and Beryl Epstein approach
Factual, well illustrated. Taslitt's
"Soldier of Israel" gives a proper the very young reader with fascin-
account of the age of Israel's ation in their "Take This Ham-
emergence from the Zionist back- mer," a wonderful little book for
ground to its acknowledged state- the youngest readers, published by
hood. It is thanks to the men of Hawthorn Books.
great ability that the dream was
With splendid illustrations by
fulfilled, and Dayan and his asso-
ciates were the great factors in
that historic developmept. General
Dayan's superb role gets the treat-
ment it deserves in a splendid bi-
From the writings of Moses Maimonides, Translated by Rabbi Gdbert S Ro,s•-
that gives due credit to a
thel and included in his "Mairnonides: His Wisdom for Our Ilinc," a Sabra
man of genius. The young reader
Books and Funk and Wagnalls publication.
will cherish this Taslitt story.
I have discovered no better trait than silence. What a wise observa-
Moshe Dayan was not the first of
tion: For inevitably, the more words one utters, the more sins against
Israel's generals, but somehow the
force of his personality. his daring
under fire, and the brilliance of his
tactics have made him his coun-
try's best-known soldier and quali-
fied him for his present post of
minister of defense for the state
Tomie de Paola, they make the
hammer work, in every conceiva-
ble way, and they even develop it
into the gavel used by a judge.
All conceivable methods of con-
struction are utilized to have the
hammer serve as a subject that
develops into an adventure and is
certain to hold the young reader's
attention. Text and pictures com-
bine to make this a very good book
for the youngsters.
• • •
Another Hawthorn book of merit
is "Ramps" by Bernice Kohn,
whose story is illustrated by Bar-
The ramp is displayed for lifting,
for sliding down, in various shapes.
There is action in the story and
at the same time it instructs the
young reader mechanically. That's
what makes this such a utilitarian
work mingled with high entertain-
ment qualities for the little ones
who read or have the story read to
Dayan's life has been a series of
dramatic, colorful events, and it
has been guided by his own su-
preme confidence in the triumph of
right over might, and his willing-
ness to be first in the line of fire.
Young readers will identify with
'the boyish pranks pursued by
Moshe and his school friends. Once
these common grounds are estab-
lished, the development of one of
• • •
Israel's most heroic soldiers will be
a source of admiration and inspira-
Seymour Simon tells a hilarious
tion to every boy and girl.
story in "Soap Bubbles" published
by Hawthorn Books.
Given added charm by the pic-
The vast interest in race rela- tures drawn by Valli Van de Boven-
tions, in the Afro-Asian problems kamp, this book for little children
and developing conditions, lends serves just the purpose desired—
emphasis to an interesting story
First, a man's deeds should harmonize with his words. Let him for teen-agers, "Dark Venture" by
practice what he preaches.
Audrey White Beyer, illustrated by
Second, let a man say little and do much. Better to be a person of Leo and Diane Dillon, published
action rather than words.
Barbados is the locale, slavery
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS the theme, a 12-year-old boy the
'ions. But he is willing to take 48 Friday, June 13, 1969
and pictures in "Sugarplum Snow-
ball," published by Knopf. The au-
thor, Johanna Johnston, and the
illustrator, Idelette Bordigoni, have
combined their skills to portray a
girl at play, the things that interest
her, the adventures that come from
the very simplest ways of life.
' • • •
young reader is taken along routes
of mysteries that are solved in de-
tective fashion to the satisfaction
of wholesome childish approaches.
rity for the land and its citizens. ,
It is the mixture of mystery and
It is not only "Six Days of De- adventure, and the splendid illus-
stiny - that are vital to this story. trations, that make these two books
but also the earlier time of Day- stand out for the interest they in-
monides — His Wisdoin For Our
Time," Dr. Rosenthal has includ-
ed the basic teachings of the great
Israel I. Taslitt has added an-
othe r valuable
"In my opinion, one should
not speak loosely about sexual
ith his biogra-
intercourse, nor should one's
phy of a great.
thoughts be preoccupied with
Israeli war hero.
such matters. But above all, one
Sabra Books and
u n k and Wag-
must never discuss such matters
nails have issucd
in a lewd or obscene way.
is "Soldier of Is-
"Since speech is a unique at-
ael — The Story
tribute of man and a special
f General Moshe
gift of God to distinguish him
Day ; in,' which is
from other creatures, it must be
not only a bio-
used for human perfection, to
graphy of the Is-
learn and to teach, but never
raeli hero of
for degrading or lewd purposes. •
hree o ars but is
"I have good reason for call-
a splendid record
ing Hebrew the holy tongue. Do
the history o f
not think that I am exaggerat-
ing or in error in this matter. the time of Dayan. of the people
The proof is simply this: He- of Israel, the aims to a — urt: secu
the Hebrew by Taslitt.
Another noteworthy Sabra-Funk
and Vv'agnalls volume is the col-
lection of important teachings
from the works of Maimonides, the
12th Century Jewish philosopher.
scholar, physician and court aide.
Rabbi Gilbert S. Rosenthal of
Oceanside, N.Y., edited this valu-
able work, translated the selec-
tions chosen for his book and wrote
an interesting introduction which
includes a biography of Moses
SOLDIER OF ISRAEL
that of entertaining the young and
of teaching them something — in
this case it is the resort to soap
bubbles and how to make them
serve a child's puropse. "Soap bub-
bles" is a truly good book for the
very, very young.