Jewish Days: A Book of Jewish Life and Culture around the Year

Overview

Jewish Days takes the reader through the year, interpreting and illustrating the most significant dates on the Jewish calendar, including Jewish holidays, important historical dates, and biblical events to which tradition has assigned dates. Throughout the book, each month is introduced by a discussion of its zodiac sign in terms of the kabbalists’ worldview. Francine Klagsbrun has drawn on legends, traditional teachings, and modern scholarship in the almost one hundred essays presented, and Mark Podwal’s elegant...
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Overview

Jewish Days takes the reader through the year, interpreting and illustrating the most significant dates on the Jewish calendar, including Jewish holidays, important historical dates, and biblical events to which tradition has assigned dates. Throughout the book, each month is introduced by a discussion of its zodiac sign in terms of the kabbalists’ worldview. Francine Klagsbrun has drawn on legends, traditional teachings, and modern scholarship in the almost one hundred essays presented, and Mark Podwal’s elegant paintings and witty drawings are the perfect complement to her text.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like a yeasty loaf of bread rich in nutrients, "Jewish Days" transcends the usual flat, bland fare on Jewish holidays. Klagsburn, an author, editor and teacher, takes a fresh look at the cycle of the Jewish year, going beyond the holidays to include events and people that have shaped Jewish life. While she focuses on major and minor holidays and special observances, she also fills each month of the calendar with commemorative datesthe deaths of the matriarch Rachel and medieval philosopher Moses Maimonides, the establishment of the first ghetto in Venice and the completion of the Septuagint, the first Greek translation of the Torah. She defines the biblical and Talmudic framework of each holiday, explains customs, rituals and themes and adds layers of legend, debate and interpretation. Klagsburn's clear voice and thought-provoking entries make this scrupulously detailed resource a journal of the Jewish year and of Jewish life for both the uninformed and the informed. Podwal's obvious knowledge of Jewish sources colors his paintings with as much beauty as his palette; his witty black-and-white drawings bring to life the year's varying moods. Together, Klagsburn and Podwal have succeeded in portraying the holiness of time in Jewish life. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Fascinating bits of biblical history, midrashic commentary, legend, and lore make up this discursive tour through the Hebrew calendar. Beginning with Rosh Hashanathe Jewish New Yearin Heshvan and ending with the beginning of the creation and Rosh Hashana Eve in Elul, Klagsbrun, an influential Jewish feminist and author (Voices of Wisdom: Jewish Ideals and Ethics for Everyday Living, Jonathan David, 1986) traces the holidays, celebrations, and other notable days of the Jewish year with broad and careful research and some inspired touches of creative speculation. Mark Podwal's highly imaginative watercolor illustrations make this a beautiful as well as a unique addition to both Jewish and general library collections. Highly recommended.Marcia G. Welsh, Guilford Free Lib., Conn.
Elie Wiesel
A blessed combination of two remarkable talents, thirsty for wonder and imagination.
E. Kessler
An interesting mixture of feminist inclusion (like attention to the death of Miriam and a number of little-known ritual contributions of women) and traditionalist explication.
Cynthia Ozick
Imagine an encyclopedia that is as accessible as a calendar; and then imagine a calendar that is as engrossing as a storybook: these are the delights, marvels, and illuminations of Jewish Days. Learning, legend, history, tradition, and the dedications of a living faith are all stunningly entwined in Klagsbrun's remarkably engaging retelling of the Jewish festivals and sacred days. Podwal's metaphorical paintings and drawings astonish the eye with their wit and beauty. The result is not simply another fine and useful book but a thrillingly fresh invention.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374525668
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 8/20/1998
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 7.11 (w) x 10.06 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Francine Klagsbrun's books include Voices of Wisdom: Jewish Ideals and Ethics for Everyday Living and Free to Be . . . You and Me (editor).

Mark Podwal's books include The Book of Tens and, with Elie Wiesel, A Passover Haggadah.
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