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October 11, 2002 - Image 108

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-11

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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to learn that everything works out for
Marven, who keeps the payroll and
wakes the men each morning, as well.
The problem is that for a "Jewish"
book, this contains virtually nothing
Jewish. It's clear at the start that
Marven comes from a Jewish home
because his parents speak Yiddish
and he has an Uncle Moishe. Once
in the story, too, we read that
Marven comes from a kosher home,
so at the logging camp he opts to eat
meat one day, milk the next, rather
than mix the two.
But this is really a story about a boy
who happens to be Jewish, and not a
story about anything especially
Jewish. Instead, the focus is on how a
young child learns to
overcome great odds.

such as a copy of Solomon
Alexander Hart's painting The Feast
of the Rejoicing of the Law at the
Synagogue in Leghorn, Italy, 1850.
(The latter includes a great caption
inviting readers to find all 10 Torah
scrolls in the picture.)
The problem comes with the text.
Unfortunately, the written material
is unoriginal and uninspiring. Even
if you have only the bare bones of a
Jewish education, you won't learn
anything here. Jewish Holidays All
Year Round includes the story of
Pesach, the story of Purim, the story
of Chanukah. The author also writes
about holiday traditions ("The seder
dinner is a very special one, and all

Jewish Holidays All Year
Round by Ilene CoOper,
with illustrations by
Elivia Savadier (Harry
N. Abrams Inc., in asso-
ciation with the Jewish
Museum; $18.95).

Call this the literary odd
couple.
One part is really, real-
ly neat — as in oh, so
cool. The other part is
sloppily done. How did
it all come together?
This book is a project
of the Jewish Museum of
New York. Open its
pages, and "you open a
door to the museum,"
the introduction says.
That's where the beauty
comes in.
Jewish Holidays All Year
Round is, literally, a work of art. You
can't help but stop and linger at each
page, which is filled with fabulous
illustrations by Elivia Savadier. They
manage a seemingly impossible task:
they are multicultural — that is,
politically correct — and at the same
time happily Jewish. On the cover,
for example, is a family at a seder
table, where there's an array of men
in kippot (skullcaps) and men,
women and children of various eth-
nic origins. The drawings are so
warm, loving — just what you want
in a Jewish family book.
Further, Jewish Holidays All Year
Round features photos of objects
from the Jewish Museum. These
range from the painful — a picture
of suitcases belonging to victims of
the Holocaust — to the exquisite,

sorts of special food are served.
Every family has its own traditions,
and everyone has a favorite seder
dish.") and gives idea for projects,
like a Simchat Torah flag, making
your own charoset, how to play drei-
del. In short, everything you've read
in 100 other books, or thought of
on your own.
It's good to include the basics in a
book such as this. Unfortunately, the
written material here is only basics,
and unless you don't know anything
about Judaism, you don't need this
book.

Chicken Soup By Heart by Esther
Hershenhorn, with illustrations by
Rosanne Litzinger. (Simon &
Schuster; $16.95).

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