The Jewish Eye
Faith & Courage
Faith & Courage
Del Monte, and The Pocketknife
The Living History Series
By Marcus Lehmann
Feldheim Publishers, (2009)
Reviewed by Anna Dogole - February 22, 2010
Rabbi Meir (Marcus) Lehmann (1831-1890) was the Rav of Mainz, Germany. He was a respected scholar and educator who worked tirelessly to counter assimilation. One method by which he did this, as well as doing what is today called kiruv (outreach), was by writing engaging stories that promoted Torah true values and which showed that even in the face of adversary, staying true to the Jewish faith is a reward unto itself. Over the course of his career he published a large number of novels, both historical and contemporaneous to his time. Three of his historical stories, the novel, Faith & Courage, and his novellas, Del Monte and The Pocketknife have been expertly translated into English and published together in this unforgettable addition to the Living History series.
Faith & Courage tells the remarkable story of Esther, the daughter of a famous rabbi who was thought murdered during the Chmielnicki Uprising that devastated many Jewish communities in Poland and Lithuania in the mid-1600's. She was spared, only to be spirited away from her family and raised in the King of Poland's household. A fine fate, you might think, but not for this noble Jewish girl who daily fought against those who would rob her of her Judaism. This is not the only ordeal that Esther must face in this thrilling story that will keep you on the edge of your seat as you wait to see if Esther will ever again be reunited with her family, and be able to live freely as a Jew. This story was based on the little-known life of Esther, the daughter of the Shach: Rabbi Shabbathai Ben Meir HaCohen (1621-1662).
Del Monte is a story about faith and loyalty that follows the adventures of Raphael Del Monte, an orphan who was deprived of a Jewish education, but who was destined not to foreswear his Jewish heritage. The Pocketknife is a charming story about two friends that provides a brief glimpse into what life was like in the German-Jewish community in Berlin during the late 1800's.
These three stories are not only memorable and well-written, but they are also historically accurate. Rav Lehmann was noted for his research and for his ability to craft inspiring stories, stories which have withstood the test of time and are as well received today as they were when first written. In short, these are quality stories that will fascinate readers of all ages.
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