Folktale Friday

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Do you want
to read some Jewish Folktales?

Well, you are in luck… we have plenty in the collections at the Center
for Jewish History! There are over 400 books categorized under the
“Jews—Folklore” category; and nearly 700 under the “Folklore” category.

highlights you can read here at the Center for Jewish History – 


(Note these are
all in English. We have many books in Hebrew, Yiddish, German, French, and many
other languages. The starred books are children’s books, and the hyperlinks bring you to the Center’s catalog)

Elijah’s Violin & Other Jewish Fairy Tales by Howard Schwartz
(New York: Harper & Row, 1983)

Drawn from sources as
diverse as Morocco and India, Spain and Eastern Europe, Babylon and Egypt, the stories
are characterized by their infusion of traditional Jewish characters with the
archetypal forms found in all fairy tales, or by their treatment of Jewish
religious themes

The Hungry Clothes and Other Jewish
by Peninnah Schram
(New York, NY: Sterling Pub. Co., 2008)

A collection
of classic Jewish folktales which emphasize values and moral lessons, each with
an introduction that places it in context with other Jewish teachings.

Folktales of the Jews, Vol. 1: Tales from the Sephardic Dispersion (Philadelphia:
Jewish Publication Society)

Tales from
the Sephardic dispersion

*Gershon’s Monster: A Story for the Jewish
New Year
by Eric A. Kimmel (New York: Scholastic Press, 2000)

When his
sins threaten the lives of his beloved twin children, a Jewish man finally
repents of his wicked ways.

The Jewish Fairy Book by Gerald
Friedlander (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., 1920)

the stories in this book have been collected from various Jewish writings. No
attempt has been made to give a literal translation.”-Pref.

*You Never know: A Legend of the
by Francine Prose
(New York: Greenwillow Books, 1998)

mocked by the rest of the villagers, poor Schmuel the shoemaker turns out to be
a very special person. 

*The Way Meat Loves Salt: A Cinderella Tale
from the Jewish Tradition
by Nina Jaffe (New York: Holt, 1998)

In this
Eastern European Jewish variant of the Cinderella story, the youngest daughter
of a rabbi is sent away from home in disgrace, but thanks to the help of the
prophet Elijah, marries the son of a renowned scholar and is reunited with her
family. Includes words and music to a traditional Yiddish wedding song.

From the Land of Sheba: Tales of the Jews of
by Shelomo Dov Goitein
(New York:
Schocken Books, 1973)

tales like ‘The exile to Mauza and Mori Salim Shebezi’ and ‘How the Haidan
Yemenites went to Palestine’

The Day the Rabbi Disappeared: Jewish
Holiday Tales of Magic
by Howard Schwartz (New York: Viking, 2000)

of twelve traditional tales from Jewish folklore featuring elements of magic
and relating to holidays, including Rosh Hodesh, Sukkot, Tu bi-Shevat, and

The Bride Who Argued with God: Tales from
the Treasury of Jewish Folklore
by Hava Ben-Zvi

An anthology
of mostly unknown folktales, highlighting the theme of human relationships in
the family and community. 

Folktales of Israel edited by Dov Noy
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963)

stories like “The peasant who learned to like coffee” and “The two she-goats
from Shebreshin”

We hope you come visit us and check out some of these books!

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