An exciting new treasury of Jewish stories and storytellers, from ancient tales and classics re-imagined to contemporary family stories, parables, and humor "Why were human beings created?" goes a traditional Jewish saying. "Because God loves stories." Storytelling has been part of Jewish religion and custom from earliest times and it remains a defining aspect of Jewish life. In Because God Loves Stories, folklorist Steve Zeitlin assembles the work of thirty-six Jewish storytellers, each of whom spins tales that express his or her own distinctive visions of Jewish culture. Contemporary storytellers re-interpret stories from the Talmud for modern sensibilities, the Grand Rabbi of Bluzhov tells tales of the Holocaust, beloved comedian Sam Levenson regales readers with hilarious vignettes of Jewish life in America, and much more.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Where on earth have such people, throughout their history, faced continued hostility no matter where they tried to live, no matter how loyal they were to the ruling elite. Always at someone else's mercy or good will. This book demonstrates through short and simple stories their every day life. Good job Mr. Zeitlin!
I was not impressed in the least by this collection, for several reasons. First, a great deal of introductory material is offered--discussing the context of the contributor's life and works--generally at the expense of the material per se. Second, the material is weighted toward anecdotes and away from folktales, myths, legends, and other traditional literary forms. Third, with so much coverage devoted to the modern period--where Judaism has all but unraveled into bits here and nits there--any sense of continuity of cultural momentum is sacrificed altogether. The author endeavors to give us a realistic taste of such crucial institutions as the American Yiddish theater but ultimately fails to do so in any cogent manner. Indeed, to any reader who is familiar with the corpus of Jewish fantastic literature, the material is as repetitive in places as it is lightweight in others. You should most definitely take a "pass" on this work and instead stock your library with important collections...
I enjoy this book very because of what it is teaching me about the Jewish culture and because I enjoy the stories. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves stories.
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