Archive for October, 2013

Standing Up Straight: Zokeif K’fufim/Who Straightens the Bent

Books used in this review are from my personal library or were provided by my local public library. I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a book title referred to on my website and purchase it from Amazon, I may receive a very small commission on your purchase. You will incur no additional cost, however. I appreciate your support.
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We are on the fourth blessing of the Nisim B’Chol Yom/the blessings for daily miracles recited during morning prayers:

 “Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe,

Who straightens the bent.”

  Thus far, we have praised God for the miracle of awakening from a night of restful sleep with:

  • the awareness that it is day not night.
  • the ability to see the sun shining.
  • the muscles to free ourselves from the captivity of our bedding.

Now, we show gratitude to God for giving us the strength to get out of bed and stand up straight and tall as we begin our day. It all seems so simple, so easy. As healthy people, we rarely think about what it might be like to lose the ability to get out of bed in the morning.

Yet there is so much in today’s world that can weigh us down, overwhelm us, keep us bent. Physical impairments, emotional concerns, stress from work, home or family, not getting enough sleep, an improper diet, not enough exercise – any of these and more can turn us upside down. We all need help staying straight and strong – to get through each day.  Support can be found in many forms – a consistent exercise routine, regular meetings with friends or family, prayer, meditation, special diets or reading. Whatever the method, keeping ourselves and our growing families’ straight and strong is a valuable tool for getting through life, a tool for which we should be constantly thankful.

Happy Reading!

Kathy B.

Here are a few books to help start your day straight, strong and with lots of energy:

alefbetyogaAlef-Bet Yoga for Kids by Ruth Goldeen. Photos by Bill Goldeen. ©2009. KarBen Publishing. Ages 5-10. This excellent book will help your child understand the benefits of yoga stretches, while teaching them the Hebrew Alef-Bet at the same time. Make a game of it and spell out Hebrew words or names using the Alef-Bet poses provided.


Hop, Hop, Jump! By Lauren Thompson. Illustrated by Jarret J. Krosoczka. ©2012. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. Ages 3-8. “Move your body!” begins this book and the kids pictured never stop jumping, stomping, hopping, shaking and moving until the very end. A great way to start any day.

 LoebshakinLisa Loeb’s Songs for Movin’ & Shakin’: The Air Band Song and Other Toe-Tapping Tunes by Lisa Loeb. Illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke. ©2013. Sterling Children’s books. Ages 4-10. Get out your air guitars, air drums and air pianos, it’s time to make a  little music! While you’re at it, shake your body, kick your feet and clap your hands. There is a whole lot of energy to be generated by the songs in this little book.

 StretchStretch by Doreen Croni. Illustrated by Scott Menchin. ©2009. Atheneum Books for Young Readers. Ages 3-6 years. Stretching is one of the best ways to keep muscles strong and limber. The pooch in this charming book demonstrates a variety of ways to stretch our muscles, including the muscles in our brain…by using our imagination!

 wakdragonWaking Dragons by Jane Yolen. Illustrated by Derek Anderson. ©2012. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Ages 2-6. In the spirit of the “Dinosaurs…” books that Jane Yolen has written so beautifully, this book about a tiny knight who is responsible for making sure the house dragons get up and get ready for the day will have young and old giggling over how difficult it can actually be to get “some creatures” ready to start the day!


 ©2013 Kathy Bloomfield and All rights reserved.


Blog Action Day 2013: Human Rights

Books used in this review are from my personal library or were provided by my local public library. I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a book title referred to on my website and purchase it from Amazon, I may receive a very small commission on your purchase. You will incur no additional cost, however. I appreciate your support.

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I am honored to once again be participating in Blog Action Day, an annual free event that unites the world’s bloggers around a single theme for one day each year in order to raise awareness and understanding. This year’s theme is Human Rights.

In 1948, following the horrors of World War II, the United Nations created “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” a list of 30 ideas that represent the most basic rights of every human being. Since its creation, this document has been translated into 413 different languages making it the most translated text in the world.

It seems like simple common sense, right? Every human on this planet, no matter where they live, has certain fundamental rights that should be/must be protected. How, in a world filled with such technological prowess, medical knowledge, scientific genius and unbelievable wealth, can there be anyone, anywhere still suffering? Yet, you only have to pick up a newspaper, listen to the radio or watch the news to know that – even in our own country – some of these rights are not being respected, protected or preserved.

As always, my hope lies with the children and with those who write for and about them. The power of children’s literature can never be underestimated. That is why I continue to look for those books that empower parents to empower their children with the values and resources they will need in their future as caretakers and protectors of this world.

Happy Reading!

Kathy B.

Introduce your children to this amazing document using these kid-friendly books:

EveryHumanEvery Human has Rights: A Photographic Declaration for Kids by National Geographic with a foreword by Mary Robinson. ©2009, National Geographic Society. Ages 10-18. Each of the 30 statements in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is illustrated by a photograph which is accompanied by a caption explaining where the photo was taken and when. This is an excellent starting point for discussion with older kids as some of the photos are very clear examples of the statement involved, while others may require a bit of explanation.


We are All Born Free: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Pictures by Amnesty International. ©2008, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books. Ages 7-12. In honor of the 60th  anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Amnesty International invited 30 world renowned children’s book illustrators to create illustrations for each of the 30 statements in the document. The product of their endeavor is a rich and powerful tribute to the meaning of the words as seen through the eyes of children.


TikvahRightsTikvah: Children’s Book Creators Reflect on Human Rights by Norman B. Stevens, with an introduction by Elie Wiesel. ©1999, North-South Books.  All Ages, Forty-four artists, 14 Caldecott Award winners, take the issue of Human Rights to heart. With pen and ink, brush and paint, and accompanying explanatory text, each artist takes us into an issue that resonates with them on a personal level. The power of their art, along with the power of their words cannot help but move you to action.


 ©2013 Kathy Bloomfield and All rights reserved.

October Jewish Book Carnival


Sitting here preparing this month’s Jewish Book Carnival, I am happy to have something to think about other than the mess that is occurring practically outside my front door in the United States Capitol building. Since moving to Washington, DC last November, I have been thrilled at the opportunities presented by living “in the District.”  From seeing Thomas Jefferson’s Library at the Library of Congress to walking to the National Book Festival and poster_enlargehaving my FREE poster signed by the illustrator, Suzy Lee,  I have been able to enjoy the best of my and your tax payer dollars almost every weekend – until the government closed.  I pray that wisdom (and compassion for the 800,000 unemployed workers) will enter the minds of our Congress people and a resolution to this deadlock will be found. Perhaps they can find something in this month’s Carnival, a rare gathering of blogs about Jewish books and other happenings in the Jewish world, to assist them with making the important decisions required to keep our country afloat and at the forefront of the nations of the world.  As for you, please take time to visit every one of this month’s participants, and be sure to leave a comment on the web sites telling them you saw their post at the October Jewish Book Carnival.

The Jewish Book Carnival is a great place to get ideas for books to read and things to do. I just finished The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (which was fantastic!) just because of the great reviews I read on Carnival postings. It appears that a lot of reading took place this past month, judging by the number of book reviews I received. Get ready to make your reading list now, there are some great choices here!

Let’s start with children’s books:

BarbaraBoyMath Bietz at Jewish Books for Kids interviews Deborah Heiligman about her new book, The Boy Who Loved Math.



Jill at Rhapsody in Books reviews the companion volume to Code Name Verity – one of last year’s best books! – Rose Under Fire (set in the Ravensbruck concentration camp). This is going at the top of my reading list

MightyHandAs for me, I spent some time at, looking at what is new and exciting for parents to share Torah stories with their children.



Meghan Wolff, Publicity Coordinator for Kar-Ben Publishing, shares the KarBen blog featuring a story about the newly renovated Jerusalem Railway Station, the same station Engineer Ari took of from:

For the Adults among us:

JBkCNaomi Firestone-Teeter at the Jewish Book Council shares some fantastic non-fiction news – the five finalists for the Sami Rohr Prize.



Batya Medad at  Me-ander reviews  A Bit of Wit, A World of Wisdom by Yehoshua Kurland, Gefen Publishing House

CultbusterAnd over at Shiloh Musings, Batya reviews Confessions of a Jewish Cult Buster by Rabbi Shea Hecht



ElixirOver at The Prosen People, another Jewish Book Council blog, Gabi Gleichman offers some insights into what it was like to write, The Elixir of Immortality, a fictionalized account of the family of Baruch Spinoza.


 Lorri M. reviews Great House by Nicole Krauss.



On My Machberet, Erika Dreifus shares memorable morsels from The Impossible Takes Longer: The Memoirs of Vera Weizmann as told to David Tutaev.

OxfordShortLeora Wenger – who is hosting November’s Jewish Book Carnival – at Sketching Out reviews a variety of short stories from the anthology, The Oxford Book of Hebrew Short Stories.


Heidi Estrin at The Book of Life podcast interviews Maggie Anton about Rav Hisda’s Daughter, Book I: Apprentice: A Novel of Love, the Talmud, and Sorcery. Maggie has a lot of interesting background information to share, including some actual spells!


StartersMy good friend, KSP, at Life is Like a Library, reviews a mouthwatering cookbook Starters & Sides Made Easy.


I hope you enjoyed this month’s Jewish Book Carnival. Again, please take time to visit the bloggers posted here and share that you saw them here!

Happy Reading!

Kathy B.