Meet Hanina, the daughter of a Jewish tailor who cures a sultan’s only child by taming a lioness to get her milk. And Nahum Bilbas, the brave rabbi-in-training who dares to confront the great warrior El Cid in order to secure peace for the Jews of Valencia. These and countless other colorful characters will entertain and intrigue you in this delightful collection that contains lessons, truths, surprises, and happy endings.
When the Jews fled the Iberian Peninsula in 1492 and scattered all over Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, they took with them the folktales that were an integral part of their heritage. As they settled into their new homelands, they borrowed many of the literary devices and motifs from their adopted countries, adding varied flavor to the traditional Jewish stories. For ages eight and up, The Power of Song includes a glossary of foreign words, and each story is accompanied by a short commentary on its origin and meaning. The author's introduction gives special attention to the history of Jewish folktales and specifically those of the Sephardic Jews.
Rita Roth (1929–2015) was for twenty years an associate professor in the education department at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri. Alexa Ginsburg is a graphic designer and fiber artist. She is the illustrator of Wise and Not So Wise: Ten Tales from the Rabbis (JPS, 2004).
“The stories are the perfect centerpiece for family storytelling. . . . Readers are taken on a ride through Jewish Mediterranean history.”—Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle
“This book is wonderful reading for young adults and adults to expand their knowledge of Sephardic culture.”—National Jewish Post and Opinion
Table of Contents
Foreword Acknowledgments The Enduring Power of Folktales The Tales
The Power of Song What Djoha Needed Tzohar Blancanina A Friend for a King Zipporah and the Seven Walnuts The Contrarian The Color Red The Grateful Dead The Vengeful Queen Nahum Bibas The Body Parts The Ivory Flute