Look at your floor,.
then call Mickey
Now carryil4 Mirage Wood Floors
by Phillis Gershator, with illustrations
by Alexa Ginsburg. Copyright 2004,
published by the Jewish Publication
ing quite so
nice as being
held in your
- Wise... and
Not So Wise
is the perfect book for doing just that.
This is a collection of stories the
author, Phillis Gershator, first heard
from her late father-in-law, a rabbi. All
are based on midrashic or talmudic
tales, and so each offers a lesson of
sorts. They also contain bits of magic
(like a flying loaf of bread), curious
angels, a lot of silliness and plenty of
Though most Jewish families are
familiar with folktales, Wise ... and Not
So Wise features at least one story, or -
retelling of a story, that you probably
haven't heard. It's nice, too, that the les-
sons don't really hit you over the head
in an obtrusive fashion. Chances are
you'll see them coming, but they're still
subtle enough to be enjoyable.
Consider, for example, the story of
two "wise men" of Athens who meet up
with an ugly rabbi. "Is this the famouss
wise man of Jerusalem?" they wonder.
So they ask him a series of ridiculous
questions, to "test his so-called wis-
dom." They bring two eggs and want
to know if the rabbi can tell the color
of the chicken from which the eggs
came. They inquire as to whether the
rabbi can advise them on how to stop
salt from spoiling. They ask how to
build a house in the middle of the sky.
Then they ask, "Can you tell us what is
truly important in life?"
The rabbi responds: "Friends are
truly important, so make a good friend.
You can ask as many questions of a
friend as you like and stay up a thou-
sand nights together discussing the
At the end of each story, the author
provides brief information about the
source for her material, about the real-
life figures who inspired the tale and
asks questions young readers will love
Editor's Note: Jewish Stars:
Recommended books with Jewish
themes for schools and libraries, is now
available on the Web site of the
Association of the Jewish Libraries. It is
free for downloading at
www.jewishlibraries.org. This new,
annotated bibliography will enable
teachers, librarians and parents to iden-
tify recommended books that will help
children learn about the Jewish religion,
culture and history, as well as about
Israel and contemporary Jewish life.
The 29-page bibliography includes
more than 200 titles and is organized
by topic: Basic Judaism and Other
Religions; Jewish Biographies;
Contemporary Jewish Life; Jewish
Folklore; Jewish History; Jewish
Holidays; Israel; Jewish Life Cycle
Events; and World War II and the
Holocaust. Each topic is divided by age
level; and a list of Web resources,
review publications, conferences and
other resources is included.
The editors plan to update the bibli-
ography annually with new titles, as
well as other additions or corrections.
The Jewish Stars bibliography is edited
by Rachel Kamin, director of the
Temple Israel Libraries and Media
Center in West Bloomfield.
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nt (51- reet
I Can't Believe
A British caviar. Bottled water from
Norway. A digestive aid from Germany.
What's the connection? They're all
Have you ever come across an unusu-
al food item that's kosher? Something
imported, perhaps, or manufactured in
some small town in Idaho? Or maybe
you've just learned that your favorite,
but little-known, kosher cookie from
childhood is still being produced?
If so, AppleTree wants to know about
it for a future story.
Please write and tell us all about your
discovery. Include with your letter:
#1) The name of the product
#2) Where it can be purchased
#3) How you discovered the item
#4) Your name, complete address and
#5) A photo of you with the product,
#6) -Your critique of this food/drink.
Is it tasty, just so-so, pretty awful?
All items must have some kind of
If you're unclear, e-mail
eapplebaum@thejewishnews for infor-
Orchard Lake Rd. South of Lone Pine Rd.
West Bloomfield, Michigan