Usually I review books in English here but this time I am reviewing three children’s books in Hebrew. These are all about Rabbis some more and some less familiar.
The first Hebrew children’s book review, is for בשירה אל הרב צבי יהודה (In a convoy to Rav Tzvi Yehuda) by Rachel Slyter (illustrated by Naama Lahav) publisher: Hemdat Hadarom with Hemed (Religious Education in Israel). It is aimed at children from gan aged to first or second grade. This is one of a series of books on what Hemed calls “leaders of the generation” (the others so far are about Rav Uziel and Rav Chaim David Halevi.) It is a sweet story about a little boy who goes to Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook with a halachic question. Along the way he meets others who join him. In a simple way children get a feel for R. T.Y. Kook’s personality, and the many things he was involved in in a day to day basis, as well as the concept of going to a Rav with a question.
אריה ברחובות ירושלים- בעקבות רב האסירים (Arye in the streets of Jerusalem- in the wake of the prisoner’s rabbi) by Adi David publisher: Beit Hamelamdim
This is a lovely comic book with a wider age range, perhaps until 6th grade. Through the context of a little boy separated from a class trip in Jerusalem, we hear stories of Rabbi Arye Levin, the prisoner’s rabbi, from many different types of people and learn about the mitzvot that he undertook and the kindness he showed everyone. This is a lovely story (my kids re-read it quite a bit.) Just when reading this with gan age children some parts should probably be glossed (one of the stories has to do with a British mandate era almost hanging.)
סיפור בעל הפתק לילדים (The Story of the Baal HaPetek for children) illustrator: Yolan Metzger Publisher: Keren Rabbi Yisroel Dov Odesser I received this book about Yisroel Dov Odesser as a review copy from Breslov books. What is useful about this book is it gives context to why you might see young men in white kippot dancing and singing Na Nach Nachman MeUmman, or cars like the one illustrating this post with that text sprayed all over it. Unless they are doing it just for fun, the singers and car owners are likely followers of Rabbi Odesser.) It also gives a good overview of Hitbodedut, seclusion practiced by Breslover chasidim and talking to God in an ordinary basis. We are not Breslovers or followers of R. Odesser, but as there are lots where we live, it gave some context for my daughter. This book is geared towards older children and should be read with a parent as there are a number of difficult concepts that a parent may wish to skip or discuss in a way appropriate to their child.