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January 09, 2004 - Image 27

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-01-09

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

Look WhA I:Seel:Where :Can] Be?.

Walking On Sunshine

'••AT.THE 'SYNAGOGUE •

You'll be as happy as a new day with this new book from Sandy Eisenberg Sasson.

ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM
AppleTree Editor

God and gratitude and hope.
The Life of Moses by Neil Morris.

look elsewhere.
Look What I See! Where Can I
Be? At the Synagogue by Dia L.

Copyright 2003, published by Enchanted
God's New Day by Sandy Eisenberg
Lion Books. Hardback. 32 pages. $18.95.
Michels, with photographs by
Sasson, with illustrations by Joani Keller
Perhaps because the language of the
MichadIN. Bowles. Copyright
Rothenberg. Copyright 2003, published by Torah is, by modern standards, a bit
2003, published by Pla typus
Jewish Lights. Hardback. 32 pages.
stodgy, some tend to regard biblical fig-
Media. Hardback. 32 pages. $1695.'
$17.95.
ures as equally dreary.
If you would enjoy a nice case
Just about eve
ng works in this
This is anything but true. The lives of
of heartburn or indigestion (take
terrific book, especially the illustrations.
our ancestors are filled with as much
What were they thinking?
God's New Day is beautiful to look at:
drama — mystery, murder, astounding
This is a picture book,
colorful, striking and completely charm-
revelations — as any episode of The
designed for children up to age 5.
ing. Open it up and you don't have to
Sopranos.
The photos are all right, but the text is
look any further than page one before
Yep, it's true. Some of our matriarchs
dreadful and the premise is dumb.
you say, "Wow!"
and patriarchs led downright juicy lives.
Look What I See!is told through the
The story is something of a contem-
How do we make this come alive for
eyes of a toddler, experiencing all kinds
porary midrash, based on the creation of children? Pick up a copy of The Life of
of Jewish holidays — Rosh Hashanah, a
Adam and Eve.
Moses.
wedding, Sukkot, Shabbat to name a
As it begins, the sun is going down,
This new book is quite large and filled few — in a single week.
and the sky becomes dark. Adam fears
with pictures about the life of Moshe.
No matter what your Jewish educa-
the sun is tired, so he suggests it rest on
And you will certainly be drawn to these tion, you will be left completely con-
his shoulders. Eve thinks the sun (mag-
pictures.
fused by this little book.
nificently drawn here, with blue-and-
Painted by some of the greatest artists
"It is fun to go to the synagogue with
white tears) is sad, so she sings it a song.
in history, including Michelangelo and
my family," reads the opening page.
But still the sun continues to fall, and
Botticelli, the works are breathtaking,
Here we see a family, carrying a large sil-
dark comes. Now Adam and Eve are
beautiful, compelling. Some are so won- ver package (clearly a present) out the
angry.
derfully imagined, as well, that you can
door. There's an apple prominently
"God said we are the ones in charge.
almost feel yourself there, in the picture,
placed on the ground. The family is
You must listen to us!" they cry.
such as The Israelites on the Bank of the
dressed casually.
But still the sun goes down. Adam
Red Sea, by 17th century Flemish artist
There you have it. That's it for the
and Eve blame each other for this appar- Frans Francken II.
entire initial "concept." Is this family on
ent calamity and they argue.
Unfortunately, there's very little Jewish their way to a synagogue? Why is the
"Without the sun, the plants can't
artistry here, and that gives the book a
apple so noticeably sitting on their
grow!" Eve says. "Do something to bring distinctly Christian feel. Further, the text porch? What does the gift have to do
back the sun or else we'll die!"
is really written for a Christian audience.
with anything?
They even appeal to God to end the
In the book, the Torah is sometimes
The next page begins: "On Sunday, I
night and bring back the sun, but noth-
called the Bible, sometimes the "Old
fell asleep in my stroller. When I woke
ing works and "The earth became cold
Testament." There are references to Jesus
up, I saw a Kiddush cup. Where was I?
and dark."
as "Christ" (meaning messiah).
By the chuppah at a wedding."
Adam and Eve cling to each other,
And, to be honest, the information
Huh? Here the family is nicely
falling asleep and "waiting for the world
about Moses is not especially enlighten-
dressed, under the chuppah, outside. Is
to end."
ing. It's the basics: how he was found,
this where the family was heading on
At last, the day arrives. "The setting
how he learned his heritage, his role as a
the first page? If so, when did they
sun was not the end of the world — it
leader of the Jews.
change clothing, and why does this pic-
was only the coming of the night." The
There's nothing really wrong with this
ture appear to be taken at a private resi-
light wraps around Adam and Eve "like
book; there's simply nothing especially
dence, not a synagogue?
a robe of gold." They thank God for the
right with it, either. If you're an art his-
Next page: "On Monday, I fell asleep
day and the night, the light and the
tory and biblical scholar, this book likely in a classroom. When I woke up, I saw a
dark, and they bless the day.
will be of interest to you. But if you're
shofar. Where was I? In class learning
What a lovely story. And what a beau- looking for texts that will teach you or
about Rosh Hashanah."
tiful way to write about the world and
your children more about one of the
On it goes, and it only gets worse.
most important figures in Jewish history,
If you see Look What I See," run away.

-yes

evaiat3 t$

t

TI•E LIFE OF

-

Jeff & Janis: At Last

CD. Copyright 2002,
by Janis Fine andJeffWinter. Available at
bookstores and through jtwin27@aol.com
If you like Jewish music, here's a col-
lection that includes traditional melodies
to Broadway tunes.
There's something for everyone in the
family, from the little ones who invari-
ably love Chiri Bim to those longing for
Israel (Yerushalyin2 Shel Zahav) to a nos-
talgic grandmother (Bei Mir Bisdu Shayn).
Jeff (Winter) and Janis (Fine) live in
Chicago, where they are popular local
performers. When not singing, the two
are professors who discovered their
mutual passion for music at their Hillel.
On this CD, Jeff and Janis perform
with minimal accompaniment, which
makes it great to sing along with (the
lyrics are included).
Jeff and Janis have nice voices that
work well together, most notably on the
Israeli classic Erev Shel Shoshanim and a
Sephardic version of Adon Olam.
Their Broadway songs may not be to
everyone's taste, however; there's a
lengthy compilation of songs from
Fiddler on the Roof.
Note that this CD contains The Little
Light of Mine, which makes no mention
of Jesus, though it is a traditional
Christian gospel song. ❑

ca

AM

1/ 9
2004

27

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