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Built by Angels: The Story of the Old-New Synagogue [NOOK Book]

Overview

As legend tells it, the Old-New Synagogue in Prague was built by angels, and later was home to a golem who remains locked away in the building to this day. In lyrical prose, Mark Podwal shares the story of the world's oldest active synagogue, which was completed in 1270. Throughout the years, this sacred place of prayer and celebration has endured plagues, wars, and the Nazi regime. Its story is part legend, part history, and one that stands as a testament to the perseverance of the Jewish people. Includes an ...
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Built by Angels: The Story of the Old-New Synagogue

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Overview

As legend tells it, the Old-New Synagogue in Prague was built by angels, and later was home to a golem who remains locked away in the building to this day. In lyrical prose, Mark Podwal shares the story of the world's oldest active synagogue, which was completed in 1270. Throughout the years, this sacred place of prayer and celebration has endured plagues, wars, and the Nazi regime. Its story is part legend, part history, and one that stands as a testament to the perseverance of the Jewish people. Includes an author's note and bibliography.
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal

Gr 1-4

Similar in style and format to Jerusalem Sky: Stars, Crosses, and Crescents (Doubleday, 2005), this offering uses spare, free-verse prose to illuminate the magic and mystery of the oldest surviving synagogue in Europe. Legend has it that the intricately carved stones were brought to Prague from Jerusalem by angels on the condition that they are returned when the Temple is rebuilt. A piece of Passover matzoh protects the synagogue from harm while white doves guard it from fire. The Old-New Synagogue was also home to the great 16th-century Rabbi Judah Loew, who created a Golem out of clay to defend the Jews of the Prague Ghetto from anti-Semitic attacks. The remains of the Golem are believed to reside in the attic. The simple, abstract illustrations in acrylic, gouache, and colored pencil do not fully illuminate the architectural magnificence of the building or the legends associated with it. Readers will need to look to other sources for more concrete images and will also need more information than what is provided in the author's note. However, the book can be used to complement David Wisniewski's Golem (Clarion, 1996) and Podwal's Golem: A Giant Made of Mud (HarperCollins, 1995).-Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL

Kirkus Reviews
Legend, history and spiritual significance intertwine in Podwal's illustrated free-verse poem paying homage to Prague's Altneuschul, or Old-New Synagogue, which is the oldest in Europe, dating back to 1270, and is treasured for its early Gothic architecture. Built, according to legend, from the stones of Jerusalem's destroyed Temple, the synagogue is a symbol of perseverance-surviving pogroms, fires, floods and war-and represents the struggles and endurance of the Jewish people. Childlike yet abstract drawings in acrylic, gouache and colored pencil-dominated by a combination of reds that symbolize the blood-stained walls from an earlier murderous rampage-delineate the building's history as a haven for worship throughout the centuries. It remains today, restored to its original beauty: "Heavy stones, light stones, / stone pillars, stone walls, / stones carved like branches, / other like roots- / and as the angel decreed, / not one moved or changed in any way." A beautiful, Impressionistic introduction to a portion of Judaic lore and a European architectural marvel. (historical note) (Picture book. 7-10)
From the Publisher
"A beautiful, Impressionistic introduction to a portion of Judaic lore and a European architectural marvel."—Kirkus

 "I've never seen Prague in such luminous colors . . . Prague with wings . . . flying, floating, reaching the sky. The simple fact is that it is a glorious book."—Peter Sis

Children's Literature - Sara Rofofsky Marcus
This book, authored and illustrated by Mark Podwall and recipient of awards from the Society of Illustrators and the Jewish Book Council, fills minimal text with Jewish history, lore, custom, and beliefs in an easy-to-understand manner. This book is based on a real synagogue, Prague's Altneuschul, or Old-New Synagogue, the oldest surviving synagogue in Europe. The author has done research on the building as evidenced in the text, illustrations, and author's note at the end of the work. This picture book tells the history and legends of the Old-New Synagogue, its building by angels, the need to keep all stones exactly as they were until the day the stones themselves returned to the Temple in Jerusalem, the ghosts, the Golem, and more. The content and approach of this book is appropriate not only for Jewish children but for any child interested in a mythical or fairy-tale picture book. Minimal text on each page makes the work not only suitable for reading aloud but also for beginning readers to approach the world of reading. Reviewer: Sara Rofofsky Marcus
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547537863
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/6/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • File size: 22 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

MARK PODWAL is the author and illustrator of numerous books, including Jerusalem Sky: Stars, Crosses, and Crescents; A Sweet Year: A Taste of the Jewish Holidays; and The Menorah Story. He has received awards from the Society of Illustrators and the Jewish Book Council, his drawings have appeared in the New York Times for more than thirty years, and his work is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum, among many others. He lives in New York, where he also practices medicine.
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