Illustrated by Marcelo Ferder
Jewish Fables. Paper, illustrated, perfect bound, 104 pp.
$19.95 plus s&h
2008, ISBN 978-0932412-669
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Fables from the Jewish Tradition
Compiled and edited, with commentary, by Rabbi Manes Kogan
Translated by Sandy Berkofsky-Santana; Illustrations by Marcelo Ferder
Fables from the Jewish Tradition is a graceful English presentation of Jewish fables and their cultural and religious context. Luminous color illustrations by Marcelo Ferder, Kogan’s extensive notes, and his enlightening short essay about fables and the Jewish textual tradition are highlights of the collection.
Presented in an attractive, contemporary format, this book offers a brief but varied group of 40 fables which can be found scattered through the Talmud and in certain collections of midrashim. Because they are stories about talking animals and their interactions with each other and with humans, they seem like simple “fairy tales” about how people live and should behave. For this reason, they offer readers—including children—a way into understanding the Talmud and Midrash, often thought of as impenetrable or arcane. The notes and essay help to explain the Jewish teachings to be found in the fables. The appeal of this book goes far beyond schoolchildren. Readers who love fables will recognize universal themes here, but with the point of view and wisdom of Jewish tradition going back thousands of years. Even the reader who is relatively unfamiliar with Jewish culture will see a different, often unexpected slant on old concepts and topics.
A Teacher’s Manual for this text is also available.
Rabbi Manes Kogan is an Argentinian Jew currently working as a Conservative rabbi in the United States. He compiled the fables, translated them from the Hebrew and Aramic originals into Spanish, and wrote the notes and commentary. While studying English in the Dominican Republic, he became friends with Sandy Berkofsky-Santana, an American Jew living in Santo Domingo, D.R., who translated the book into English. Marcelo Ferder, a Dominican Jewish artist, created 40 original illustrations for the fables.