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The Classic Tales: 4,000 Years of Jewish Lore

The Classic Tales: 4,000 Years of Jewish Lore [Kindle Edition]

Ellen Frankel

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Product Description


'Superb' is the word needed to describe this retelling of 300 Jewish stories in chronological order spanning 4,000 years and three continents. Drawing from talmudic, midrashic, hasidic, and folktale sources, Frankel has put together a rich anthology of Jewish tales imbued with the spiritual values of Judaism and the age-old folk wisdom of the Jewish people. Enhancing the collection are several indexes arranged by character types, symbols, topics, and names and places that enable readers to locate specific kinds of material. Also included are a helpful glossary and bibliography containing all the sources used by the author. Sure to become a modern classic, this labor of love is highly recommended. Library Journal In The Classic Tales, Ellen Frankel has created a work that will itself become a classic. These 300 stories represent the broad panorama of Jewish lore from all parts of the world, from biblical times through the hasidic masters of the nineteenth century. The book is much more than a retelling of tales, though. Frankel has combined a scholarly approach, a woman's perspective, and the ability to write clearly to produce an indispensable tool for teachers, rabbis, parents, storytellers, and others concerned with transmitting Jewish culture. Hadassah Magazine The Classic Tales: 4,000 Years of Jewish Lore by Ellen Frankel is an extraordinary volume spanning three continents and four millennia. The three hundred Jewish tales in this extraordinary volume begin with the creation; in fact, they go back into myth for pre-creation stories and continue down through history. These stories abound in allusions to classic Jewish texts. Biblical cadences, phrases from the prayer book, and ideas from Jewish proverbs and heroic legends resonate in the air. It is, in short, a family memory. National Jewish Post and Opinion

Product Description

Three hundred Jewish tales in this extraordinary volume span three continents and four millennia. Culled from traditional sources—the Bible, Talmud, Midrash, hasidic texts, and oral folklore—and retold in modern English by Ellen Frankel, these stories represent the brightest jewels in the vast treasure chest of Jewish lore.

Beautifully clothed in contemporary language, these classic tales sparkle with the gentle and insightful humor of the Jewish folk imagination. And like so much of Jewish literature, these stories abound in allusions to classic Jewish texts. Biblical cadences, phrases from the prayer book, and ideas from Jewish proverbs and heroic legends resonate in the air when these tales are read or told aloud. In The Classic Tales, history sheds its dust to become as intimate as family memory.

While the breadth and depth of this book make it completely unique, three special features also help distinguish it: God appears without gender (though certainly not without personality); women characters, so often nameless in the original biblical text, wear their midrashic names (e.g., Noah's wife Naamah, Abraham's mother Amitlai, Lot's wife Edith); and many tales of Sephardic origin have been included to correct the common American bias toward Eastern European sources.

What's more, this volume has been uniquely designed to be of use to educators, rabbis, parents, and students. It features a chronological table of contents as well as six separate indexes?arranged by Jewish holidays, Torah and Haftorah readings, character types, symbols, topics, and proper names and places—to make the tales easily referenced in a wide variety of ways. Anyone who needs a story to inspire a child, to illustrate a point, to develop a sermon, or just to uplift his or her own thirsting soul will find just the right one in The Classic Tales.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1415 KB
  • Print Length: 702 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1568210388
  • Publisher: Jason Aronson, Inc. (6 Aug 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009R6GLRE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #946,758 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best compilation 20 April 2011
By Bruce D. Wilner - Published on
I have quite a library of Judaica, and I can unreservedly say that there's no other anthology of tales--perhaps I should say, "popularly readable tale variants"--that comes close to this. Oh, you can find more panoramic material, albeit dizzyingly (dis)organized, by Patai--or umpteen variants of each nit, by Bin Gorion--but this one takes the cake for offering a historical treatment that takes us from the Creation, through the Biblical era, through the Diaspora and the Middle Ages, right up to Hasidic and near-modern times. The book is possibly rivaled by Pinhas Sadeh's collection, though he focuses more on the mystical tales. Also, Howard Schwartz offers an intriguing variety of Jewish storybooks, although, truth be told, the material gets so overwhelmingly repetitively repetitively repetitive that one begins to wonder how many of the variants were authored by Schwartz himself in the ceaseless race to "publish or perish." Buy Frankel, and you will not be disappointed by her rich panorama of clever, witty, emotional, fulfilling, soul-nourishing stories that make you brilliantly proud to be one of the chosen people.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, rich stories 3 April 2000
By Linda B. - Published on
This is a wonderful book full of stories perfect for children and adults. It focuses on values in a way that is positive, endearing and educational. Nearly all the stories have a lesson that is appropriate for the times we live in - even though the origin of many of them lies in books and teachings which are thousands of years old. This is a great book for students of Judaica, teachers, camp counselors/directors, or anyone who tells stories from time to time. It's also perfect to keep in one's own home library to share with others.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a treasure trove 3 April 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on
I absolutely loved this book. I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament), the Apocrypha , folklore, and mysticism. The majority of these stories are midrashic, embellished, and often very entertaining, retellings of Bible stories, others are more like fables. This collection is rendered by a modern woman who has tried to eliminate derogatory references to women. It also has a glossary of unfamiliar words. One particular story "The Hunter and the Bird" stayed with me. A bird offers the hunter three pieces of wisdom in exchange for its freedom. 1. Do not seek what you can not obtain. 2.Do not regret what you have lost. 3. Do not believe what can not be. As the tiny bird flies away she informs the hunter that she has a pearl the size of an ostrich egg inside of her. A slightly different version of this story appears in another excellent book, Wisdom of the Dervishes by Idries Shah
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic stories told very well 11 Mar 2013
By Bob Fields - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book encompasses thousands of years of Jewish stories. They are succinct. Most are only a few pages long. The indexes by subject in the back make this a useful volume for speakers who may be searching for a story related to some specific subject.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting reading 22 Dec 2010
By S. Caros - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author does not hide the fact that this is lore. However, a keen eye will see that there are many Biblical correlations within these oral traditions. Read with a grain of salt and there is much enjoyment to be found within these pages.
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