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The Essential Jewish Stories

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The Essential Jewish Stories

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The Essential Jewish Stories
G-d, Torah, Israel & Faith
By Rabbi Seymour Rossel
KTAV Publishing House: 2011
ISBN: 978-1602801677

Reviewed by Boris Segal - March 28, 2011

The Essential Jewish Stories is a soul-stirring collection of more than 300 stories, retold by the prolific writer, Rabbi Seymour Rossel. The stories in this collection run the gamut from folktales and short narratives, to anecdotes that run only one or two paragraphs. The stories in this collection were drawn from a variety of sources including Hasidic stories, Midrashic tales, Rabbinic texts, modern literature, and more. The source for each tale is noted at the end of each story. Many of the stories also include endnotes that provide further information on the story in question.

The stories in this collection are gathered into four thematic categories, covering G-d, the Torah, Israel, and Faith. Within each category, the stories are further organized into subcategories such as Heaven and Earth, Charity and Righteousness: Tzedakah, Students and Teachers, and Women in Israel. The stories are enhanced by the inclusion of a bibliography and a collection of Early and Rabbinic Sources. In addition, this collection included three different indexes, which will help you to find just the story you want. The indexes cover Festivals and Holy Days, Notable Characters, and Concepts and Values.

There are so many stories in this collection that you are sure to come across many stories that you are already familiar with, as well as some that will be new to you. The stories in this collection are suitable for readers of all ages, and the book can be read through from cover or cover, or you can skip around, reading a bit here, and a bit here, discovering new gems at every turn. The stories in this collection are perfect for reading, at bed time to younger children, around the Sabbath table, when you need a little something to enliven a speech or talk, or whenever you simply want to read an entertaining and thoroughly Jewish story. This is a collection that deserves a place in every Jewish home and library.

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