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Jewish Tales from Eastern Europe - Nadia Grosser Nagarajan

Jewish Tales from Eastern Europe

Hardcover Published: 28th August 1999
ISBN: 9780765760869
Number Of Pages: 288

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Many of the stories included in this book may be considered treasures that have yet to be presented to the Jewish and general public. Some versions of these tales have been published in different anthologies and languages over the years, but most are basically unknown. The author includes stories from varied oral and written sources, mainly Czech, Slovak, German, some Yiddish, as well as Polish and Hungarian. "Storytelling," says Nagarajan, "is perhaps the only tool that creates a path leading through the many layers of the past, shedding light on it without destroying the mystery and magic." Certain elements in these tales point to influences that came from different sources and many relate to the emancipation of the Czech Jewry. Unlike the Jews in other parts of Central and Eastern Europe, the Czech Jews were more susceptible to the changing times. It is obvious, nevertheless, that despite the foreign elements that emerge from the narratives, faith, and deep attachment to Judaism were never lost but rather provided a source of strength-even for those who had lost their way. The reader will encounter a variety of topics that span several centuries. Some are tales of fantasy and imagination while others lean on reality and fact rather than legend. A few are based on contemporary personal events and reminiscences. They include love stories ranging from the romantic and innocent to the obsessive and misguided. The joy, euphoria, fear, guilt, sweetness, and bitterness of these tales become obvious within the context of a tale or lies hidden between the lines. Multiple narratives describe a copious array of feelings people have for themselves and others, such as children, parents, and friends. Various tales convey the characters' deep belief and trust in God. Some are tragic and morbid, some radiate with the pulse of life, some are mysterious and puzzling, and others bring us laughter and amusement while at the same time conveying serious life lessons. All the stories in Jewish Tales from Eastern Europ

Industry Reviews

Nadia Grosser Nagarajan's selection of some fifty-six legends and three folktales from Eastern European Jewish tradition will delight readers interested in nostalgic Judaica. These twenty-eight Czech, sixteen Polish, thirteen Hungarian, and two Slovak, Jewish narratives so skillfully translated and artfully retold by the author provide a poignant portrait of the plight of Jews whose oppression by despotic rulers was only occasionally relieved by the miracles wrought by famous wise rabbis. From the difficulties of finding a suitable mate to the unwelcome visitations of the Angel of Death, the engaging vignettes of individuals from centuries past show the remarkable consistency of Jewish life. A substantial final annotations section provides helpful information concerning the sources of each narrative, sources which range from Nagarajan's own grandmother, to whose memory the book is dedicated, to earlier major literary collections. More than one third of the narratives were adapted from texts contained in the Israel Folktale Archives located at the University of Haifa.--Alan Dundes, University of California, Berkeley

ISBN: 9780765760869
ISBN-10: 076576086X
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 28th August 1999
Publisher: JASON ARONSON INC
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.57 x 16.26  x 3.05
Weight (kg): 0.61

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