A Compassionate Spin on a Hanukkah Tale: The Story Behind Writing Tizzy the Dizzy Dreidel

When we sat down to write our first Hanukkah picture book, we began with a question: How would you feel if you were a dreidel who always got passed over during the holiday fun?  Tizzy —a hopeful but balance-impaired dreidel—anticipates
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My Iraqi Jewish Bangle

I love to wear my grandmother’s bangle because it identifies me as Iraqi. People stop me to ask, “Are you Iraqi? My mother, my grandmother had a bangle exactly like that.” And they join me in remembering where we come from.   I always
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A Cemetery Wedding During a Pandemic- As Told by Puppets!

Today’s blog post is by Ben Gown, producer of the family-friendly musical puppet show, The Girl and the Water Carrier , based on the Kar-Ben book,  The Wedding That Saved A Town . Welcome, Ben!    As the producer of the
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When a Book Is Really Good, You Don’t Want It to End

We often talk about God as a writer and ourselves as characters in a great ongoing story. This is particularly true during the High Holidays when we pray to be inscribed in the Book of Life. Holy books are sacrosanct for Jews. When no longer
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Recalling My Childhood: My Name is Hamburger

As the author of over fifty children’s books, I have written about the US Constitution, a gigantic mythical bird, Pluto’s demotion, Rabbi Akiva, goblins, a boy with magic sneakers, and an eclectic mix of other topics. But until My Name is
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Tekiah!

On Rosh Hashanah, it is a mitzvah to hear the blowing of the shofar. To fulfill the mitzvah, one must truly hear the shofar. An echo doesn’t count, and neither does a recording. It is a climactic moment in the cycle of the Jewish year. But
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Be Like the Moon

Before there was a set calendar for the Jewish year, the beginning of a new month would be declared by the Jewish court when the new moon emerged in the sky. To let the people know, fires would be set on hilltops.   Today, as in
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Behind the Scenes of The Button Box

Co-authors of The Button Box , Bridget Hodder and Fawzia Gilani-Williams, discuss their hopes for their new middle-grade novel about cousins, one Jewish and one Muslim, who travel back in time to ancient Morocco.  Where did you get the
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Different and the Same: Passover Around the World

It is said that in every generation we are meant to see   ourselves as if we had personally experienced the Exodus from Egypt. The themes of Passover are timeless and universal: freedom, hope, and renewal. In different
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The Past and the Future Are Branches of the Same Tree

Abraham Joshua Heschel was a civil rights activist as well as a rabbi. When he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, Alabama, Heschel famously said, “I felt my legs were praying.”  When Carter G. Woodson planted
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