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The Golem's Latkes by Eric A. Kimmel
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The Golem's Latkes

by Eric A. Kimmel

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The theme for The Golem's Latkes is to never take the easy way out. Throughout the book, we learn that "Golem" which means lump, is created by Rabbi Judah and does whatever he is told. The lump's one downfall is that he never knows when to stop. Golem will continue with whatever he is instructed to do unless some one says "Golem, enough!" As the book goes on, the Rabbi hires a young woman, Basha, to clean and cook latkes for his Hanukkah party. Basha decides to let Golem completely take over her list of chores and leaves him unattended. Before anyone knew it, the town was completely covered in latkes, until of course someone cried "Golem enough!"
The setting of this story took place in Prague. I feel that that because it was set in an unfamiliar place to me, I was able to appreciate the art and scenery of the illustrations more than I would if I knew exactly what I was looking at. The setting of the book gave the plot of sense of simpleness. I could tell that the book was set many years ago based on things such as the only light source were candles and daylight, there were many old buildings, and all of the floors were cobblestone. ( )
  jmistret | Feb 4, 2016 |
Prolific children's author Eric A. Kimmel, whose previous forays into Hanukkah storytelling include such titles as Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, The Magic Dreidels, and When Mindy Saved Hanukkah, delivers an original holiday fairytale in The Golem's Latkes, one which combines elements of traditional Jewish folklore with a Sorcerer's Apprentice type story. When Rabbi Judah is called away to the emperor, just before the first night of Hanukkah, he instructs his new maid Basha to clean the house and cook the latkes, in preparation for the many guests he is expecting. Being kindhearted, he allows her to make use of the golem - a clay man, brought to life by the use of a magical word - he has created, but cautions her not to leave the house, while the golem is working. Naturally, this warning is not heeded, and the golem runs amuck, as Basha gossips with a friend. As latkes spill out of the house, and threaten to overrun the entire city, both the rabbi and Basha rush home, to try and stem the tide...

The second Hanukkah story of this kind, that I have read this season - the first being Laura Krauss Melmed's Moishe's Miracle: A Hanukkah Story, about a magic frying pan that makes endless latkes (if used by the correct person) - this newly published picture-book is particularly interesting to me, because of its use of the golem figure. I've encountered a number of children's books that retell the traditional golem story, in which the great Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel (a historical figure) creates a clay man to defend the Jews of Prague from persecution and massacre, but never one that uses this figure in a happier, "friendly" way. Such stories may exist, of course, and I know some traditional retellings have comic elements, but I haven't encountered one that transplants the figure into a wholly benign setting before. Leaving aside that issue of folkloric interest (this isn't a folktale, obviously, although I've used some folklore shelves, because of the use of the golem figure), the story here was lightheartedly engaging, and the artwork, done in acrylic, appealing. I don't know that this will ever rank amongst the best Hanukkah books for children, but it is a pleasant little holiday tale. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 19, 2013 |
Not your typical golem, but I'd be happy to have him make me some latkes. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
Hanukkah is a busy time for Rabbi Judah Loew and his household. The housemaid tasks the Maharal’s Golem to keep making potato pancakes until she returns. When she loses track of time and the streets start to overflow, it turns into a latke party for the whole city. Acrylic on wood illustrations give dimension to the man of clay and Prague. ( )
  STBA | Mar 20, 2013 |
Summary: This is the story of Golem, a person made of clay that was created by Rabbi Judah, a prominent leader of the Jewish community. Before the Hanukkah celebration, a young girl named Basha uses Golem to help her get a list of things done but doesn't follow the Rabbi's instructions to never leave Golem alone.
Genre: Folktale
Personal Reflection: I was not familiar with this story and really liked reading something completely new and different. The illustrations were quite nice, too.
Concept: This would be a good story to tell to introduce kids to a culture that may be different from their own. ( )
  ekstewar | Jun 9, 2012 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eric A. Kimmelprimary authorall editionscalculated
Jasinski, AaronIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In honor of Rabbi Audrey Pollack by Zed & Audrey Hoffman - Weldon
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0761459049, Hardcover)

On the first night of Hanukkah, Rabbi Judah has too much to do and too little time to do it. Before the rabbi leaves to visit the emperor, he tells his housemaid Basha that she can ask the golem to help. While the golem makes latkes, Basha decides to visit a friend. Basha is having so much fun with her friend, she doesn't realize that latkes are pouring out of the rabbi's house, sending people running! Will Rabbi Judah come up with a solution to control the golem before it's too late? Illustrated with lively acrylic on wood, the book includes an Author's Note about the tale's origins.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:10 -0400)

Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel visits the Emperor, leaving a new housemaid to prepare for his Hanukkah party, but returns to find that she has misused the clay man he created. Includes historical and cultural notes.

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