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Double The Pleasure
Two new books invite you to taste the challah
and meet up with some haunting figures.
hallah Time by Latifa Berry
Kropf, photos by Tod Cohen.
Published by Kar-Ben, 2002.
Hardback, $10.95. Kar-Ben
may be reached at 800-4 KARBEN or
"cute" can be
bad — like
when you're a
spent a long
ready for an
evening out and
you finally, finally look fly (i.e., oh-so
cool) and suddenly your parents say that
you look "cute."
But sometimes "cute" can be really nice
— like when you're reading Challah Time.
The brief and yes, cute, little book —
basically a photo essay — shows chil-
dren making and eating challah. The
text is short and sweet and perfect for
kindergarten-age children and younger:
Uncover the challah. It feels so warm.
Let's sing the blessing and taste our bread.
The children — especially a curly-
haired girl on the cover — are so
yummy you'll want to eat them up
along with the challah.
A bonus: this book has a whole-wheat
challah recipe, which can be halved or
made in a bread machine.
Invisible Kingdoms: Jewish Tales of
Angels, Spirits and Demons by Howard
Schwartz, with illustrations by Stephen
Fieser. Published by HarperCollins,
2002. Hardback, $16.99. To contact
HarperCollins, go to www.harper-
If you own a telephone, a television or
a computer, you are certain to hear and
see — at least 1,000 times a month, to
be exact — something that just isn't.
Despite enthusiastic claims to the
contrary, you cannot take a pill and
promptly lose 100 pounds, and you
cannot earn $500,000 monthly working
just 30 minutes a day at your computer,
and you have not won a dream vacation
to Hawaii in a contest you never
Similarly, in Judaism some things just
aren't: People are not regularly taunted
by "demons." "Ghosts" do not haunt us
until we do their bidding.
Still, it's fun to pretend — and Jews
have done that throughout history.
In Invisible Kingdoms, Howard
Schwartz (surely the Jewish
writes most fre-
quently on such
us with a collec-
tion of Jewish leg-
ends about angels
and demons and
it's all fun and
there's certainly nothing here along the
lines of people suffering eternally or los-
ing their minds. (Despite this, Invisible
Kingdoms might not be for younger chil-
dren who will be troubled by the very
idea of spirits from the dead).
It's also helps that Schwartz is a good
One of the most charming stories is
"The Lost Melody," a German-Jewish
tale of a wandering musician, Abraham.
During the summer, when the windows
were wide open, the sound of his violin
was heard up and down the street. Old
people as well as young listened to his won-
delfid playing, which brought joy to a
neighborhood that was sad and poor.
One day, Abraham and his violin are
gone. When at last they reappear,
Abraham begs, "Don't bother me. I must
not forget the melody that I just learned
from Rabbi Menashe, the cantor."
But how could this be? Rabbi
Menashe died a long time ago.
Of course, Abraham says. But he had
visited the synagogue; and there he met
with the ghost of Rabbi Menashe, who
begged him to write down "a melody I
composed just before I died, which I
took with me to the grave." All he wants
is for others to hear the tune.
So Abraham must "play it again and
again, till my fingers know it by heart.
As the story ends, Abraham sings
Rabbi Menashe's tune to everyone at the
synagogue, 'And all who were present
agreed that it was truly a haunting
melody, the likes of which had never