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Legends of the Diaspora and Modern Israel's Rebirth


   * Written by L.E. McCullough, Ph.D.

   * ISBN: 1-57525-253-8

   * Retail List Price: $17.00 (check online retailers for other prices)


TWELVE ORIGINAL PLAYS drawn from the flowering of Jewish culture during the Diaspora and the modern rebirth of Judaism worldwide — tales of Hasidic wit and wisdom, Midrash and Haggadah stories, legends of the Kaballah, Sephardic and Ashkenazic folklore and more.


1. The Alphabet of Creation. This tale from the 13th-century Zohar: The Book of Splendor depicts letters of Hebrew alphabet vying to be the letter God would use to create the world. Concludes with the alphabet song Oyfn Pripetshok (On the Little Hearth).


2. The Bird of Happiness. This Middle Eastern folktale of a boy chosen king of Israel contains narrative elements associated with the Biblical Exodus from Egypt and the Jewish holiday of Shavuot that commemorates Moses receiving the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai.


3. Two Goats, Two Sisters and a Beggar King. Three folktales from Poland and Iran that show how faith in God can give even an ordinary person power to alter people, nature and even history itself.


4. The Golem of Belmont Boulevard. The medieval tale of an artificially-created man that inspired Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is recast in a modern setting.

5. Rachel the Clever. This Eastern European story contains several elements of the best world folktales: a smart and sassy heroine who wins the heart of a king, a scheming mother-in-law, a plot that turns on mistaken identity and plenty of riddles.


6. Nitwits and Numskulls: Outwitting the Oppressor. Three tales celebrating the ways in which Jews during the Diaspora were forced to rely on their wits to survive oppressive social and political conditions — The Silent Duel, The Great Lie and the The One-Eyed Cadi.


7. Tales of the Baal Shem Tov. The founder of Hasidism, Israel Ben Eliezer (1700-60) — the "Baal Shem Tov" — was a spiritual healer and wonder worker able to transcend time and space and look deep into the human heart.


8. The Wise Men and Women of Chelm. This village in eastern Poland has for centuries provided some of the funniest and most fantastic stories about silly people anywhere.


9. “Next Year in Jerusalem!” Dr. Theodor Herzl convenes the first World Zionist Congress in Basle, Switzerland, August, 1897.


10. Di Goldeneh Medineh (The Golden Land). Solomon Smulewitz was a great Yiddish songwriter in New York at the turn of the 20th century, chronicling the experience of Jewish immigrants in song. Hear a great selection of Yiddish folk song including Kol Nidre, Shlof Mayn Kind, Shpilt-zhe Mir Dem Nayem Sher, Mayn Yingele, Eyder Ich Leyg Mich Shlofn, Ot Azoy Neyt a Shnayder, Vacht Oyf and Smulewitz' most famous song, Ellis Island.


11. Three Holocaust Tales. A perfect play for Yom Hashoah — Holocaust and Ghetto Uprising Remembrance Day. The stories included here (Three Generals, The Third Blessing and A Child’s Dream) testify to the indomitable power of the human spirit and the strength of faith that often meant difference between life and death.


12. Israel Reborn. It is May 13th, 1948, the eve of the declaration of the state of Israel, and the members of Hatzor kibbutz greet a young visitor from the U.S. eager to learn about life on a kibbutz — and what it means to be an Israeli citizen.

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