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Jewish-American Folklore
     

Jewish-American Folklore

by Josepha Sherman, Jacqueline Chwast (Illustrator)
 

Someone once observed that A Jew is composed of 28 percent fear, 2 percent sugar, and 70 percent nerve. Certainly, the Jews have needed every bit of that nerve over centuries of persecution. The struggle and triumph of Jewishness, author Josepha Sherman observes, is reflected in the vast body of Jewish folklore, which emphasizes ethical behavior and survival

Overview

Someone once observed that A Jew is composed of 28 percent fear, 2 percent sugar, and 70 percent nerve. Certainly, the Jews have needed every bit of that nerve over centuries of persecution. The struggle and triumph of Jewishness, author Josepha Sherman observes, is reflected in the vast body of Jewish folklore, which emphasizes ethical behavior and survival through cleverness, kindness, and above all, humor.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Despite this collection's title, very few of its short tales, proverbs and riddles have anything to do with America. Rather, they largely stem from pre-New World Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jewish life. Sherman ( The Shining Falcon ), a specialist in comparative folklore, makes a number of mistakes and omissions (one note refers to ``The Babylonian Talmud . . . chapter 2,'' which is analogous to saying ``Shakespeare's Plays, Acts III''). These flaws aside, this enjoyable anthology reveals the varieties of Jewish wisdom, cleverness, irony and humor through tales filled with demons and dybbuks and allegories preaching humility and charity. A particularly fascinating section entitled ``Clever Folk and Survivors''--from a traveler who outwits a robber to a fox who outwits the Angel of Death--highlights the acuity that was nothing less than a prerequisite for Jews, who have so often found themselves in seemingly impossible predicaments. Sherman also is informative on the histories of some stories--we learn that the tales of the foolish ``Wise Men of Chelm'' date back to the 15th century--and on similarities between Jewish folktales and those of other ethnic traditions. Jewish Book Club selection. (June)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780874831948
Publisher:
August House Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
02/29/2000
Series:
American Folklore Series
Pages:
215
Product dimensions:
6.58(w) x 9.43(h) x 0.74(d)
Age Range:
11 - 17 Years

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