Archive for June, 2012

Turn it and turn it again: The Study of Torah encompasses them all/Talmud Torah k’neged kulam

It is hard to imagine that this month we will be ending our survey of the Eilu D’varim prayer and all the values it contains, but here we are.  As I sat in Shabbat morning services this weekend, reciting this amazing prayer, I could not help but think about how far we have journeyed together these past nine months.  Beginning with honoring our parents and right on through making peace among people, we have explored the wealth of values not only in this prayer, but in an incredible number of children’s books that support those values. The most important lesson I hope to have taught each of you is that as the Values Educators for the children in your care – and YOU the parents, grandparents  and teachers of these children are their Values Educators – there is a wealth of resources at your disposal at your local library, in your local bookstore and online.  You just have to know how to discover it.

We are ending on the most important value of all, the study of Torah encompasses them all/talmud Torah k’neged kulam. As the first century Rabbi Ben Bag Bag says about Torah in Pirke Avot /Sayings of the Fathers (5:26) “Turn it and turn it again for everything is in it.” All the values we have read about thus far and so many more can be found in the pages and stories that come from the pages of Torah. Here are a few books to get you and your family started on this important and lifelong mitzvah (commandment):


Naamah and the Ark at Night by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Illustrated by Holly Meade. Candlewick Press, ©2011. Ages 3-8. Noah’s wife, Naamah, sings the restless animals and her family to sleep during a stormy night aboard the ark. Beautiful collage and watercolor illustrations support the lyrical, rhyming lullaby.

The Seventh Day by Deborah Bodin Cohen. Illustrated by Melanie Hall. Kar-Ben Publishing, ©2005. Ages 3-8. Just like an artist, God worked hard molding, painting and singing the world into being until it was exactly as it should be. Then God rested and created Shabbat.

Abraham’s Search for God by Jacqueline Jules. Illustrated by Natascia Ugliano. Kar-Ben Publishing, © 2007. Ages 4-8. Abraham is considered the father of three great religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. As a child he questioned the idol worship of his family and searched for the powerful One God.

The Coat of Many Colors by Jenny Koralek. Illustrated by Pauline Baynes. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers., © 2004. Ages 5-10. The biblical story of Joseph and his coat of many colors is retold in language for the young.

Green Bible Stories for Children by Tami Lehman Wilzig. Illustrated by Durga Yael Bernard. Kar-Ben Publishing, © 2011. Ages 8-11. The  retelling of well known bible stories with “reuse-renew-recycle” lessons.

Masada: The Last Fortress by Gloria D. Miklowitz. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers., © 1998. Ages 11-14. Simon ben-Eleazar, the 17-year-old son of the leader of the Zealots on top of Masada, records the story of the battle between the Roman Army and a fierce group of Jews determined to live as free people in their homeland.

Pharaoh’s Daughter: A Novel of Ancient Egypt by Julius Lester. Harcourt, Inc., © 2000. Ages 12-18. A beautifully told Midrash (story based in Torah) about the life of Moses.


As you read these beautiful stories, you may want to compare them with the JPS Illustrated Children’s Bible, an excellent, award winning resource for your family, as is of course a copy of the Tanakh for older readers.  Whichever you prefer, you will find some excellent discussion questions and activities for Torah Study in the Speak Volumes Guide for this month.

Happy Reading!

Kathy B.

©2012 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and forwordsbooks.com all rights reserved.
Books used in this review came from my local public library.
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