The Essential Jewish Stories contains more than 300 stories selected from every period of Jewish history and from every Jewish teaching tradition -- narratives, anecdotes, metaphors, analogies, folktales, and fantasies. Every story is elegantly retold to emphasize its relevance for our times.
The Essential Jewish Stories is arranged thematically for easy access. It includes three indices that make it conveniently simple to find just the right story. Sources are provided for every narrative and many are accompanied by special notes.
Perfect for clergy of all faiths, for teachers, for storytellers, and for parents -- for all who wish to initiate discussions of tradition and values with children, friends, and community -- and certainly for those of us who simply love to share a good story.
Second Revised Edition with Preface by Dr. Henry Roubicek, author of So, What's Your Story? Discovering the Story in You
"The Jewish tradition, perhaps more than most others, has relied on the power of its narratives to maintain the continuity of its peoples at least since the Diaspora. Rossel, in this substantial anthology, has brought together the stories he has used as a rabbi, drawing from scripture, Midrash, folktale, and literary sources. Indexed by festivals, characters, and concepts, this is a rich resource. VERDICT For readers and preachers in both Jewish and Christian traditions." -- LIBRARY JOURNAL
"For thousands of years, Jewish scholars have used stories and legends, Midrash, to interpret and explain core religious texts such as the Torah and the Talmud and to impart values to their students. Rossel, a Reform rabbi and educator who loves these stories, has collected more than 300 of them for this book. He has "re-imagined and rewritten" each of the stories to make them accessible to a contemporary audience. He has also done extensive research to track down the original sources of each tale. The notes and the bibliography at the end of the book provide these references for interested readers." -- American Library Association, BOOKLIST
"Seymour Rossel has gathered a lifetime's knowledge and study of Jewish stories into one inspiring collection. He draws widely from rabbinic texts, kabbalistic teachings, and Hasidic tales. His notes and sources greatly assist the reader and enrich the book. This one belongs in every Jewish library." -- Howard Schwartz, author of Tree of Souls
"Rossel presents a rich collection of the narratives of Judaism, a religion that tells the truth in narrative form. A whole new generation is invited to join the story-tradition." -- Jacob Neusner, author of Judaism: The Basics
"For anyone who has ever asked 'what's the story?' Seymour Rossel's book is a God-send. It is filled with stories from the entire sweep of Jewish history -- tales that will move you to tears and to laughter. We have needed this deeply rich resource for quite some time." -- Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin, author of Putting God on the Guest List
"Through these stories we can understand the Jewish mind at work. This is a book for your bedside, for the classroom and synagogue, and above all for your soul. It is a book for all Jews, scholars and those beginning their Jewish journeys, young and old alike, and for those who would come close to the Jewish essence. You will be nourished for years to come." -- Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman, author of The Family Prayerbook
About the Author
Rabbi Seymour Rossel is the author of The Wise Folk of Chelm and more than thirty other books, including The Torah: Portion-by-Portion, Bible Dreams: The Spiritual Quest, A Child's Bible, When a Jew Prays, When a Jew Seeks Wisdom, A Thousand and One Chickens, and Managing the Jewish Classroom. In addition, he has edited some 300 books, having worked with many distinguished Jewish authors of our times. Seymour is the President of Rossel Books and RCC, Inc. He was Rabbi of Congregation Jewish Community North in Spring (Houston), Texas. During his many years in New York, he served the American Reform movement (URJ) in a number of national positions: as Director of URJ Press, Director of the Department of Education, Director of the Commission on Reform Jewish Education, and Dean of the School of Education of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, NY. He also sat on national boards for the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education (CAJE), the Jewish Book Council, and the National Association of Temple Educators. He was Founding Director of Pathways Foundation (an advocacy program for Jewish teens and Jewish dreams); Headmaster of Solomon Schechter (now Levine) Academy of Dallas, TX; Executive Vice President of Behrman House; and Director of Education for Temple Shalom of Dallas, TX, and Temple Beth El of Chappaqua, NY. Seymour also served in voluntary capacity as Chairperson for two international Jewish education conferences both convened at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Seymour lectures widely on Jewish stories & legends, Bible, archaeology, mysticism, Kabbalah, spirituality, Jewish history, education, dreams, and values; and he conducts scholar-in-residence; teacher, board, and congregational workshops; and retreats in communities throughout North America.