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Golem by David Wisniewski
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Golem (edition 2007)

by David Wisniewski

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4564122,833 (3.91)6
Member:JessicaABaker
Title:Golem
Authors:David Wisniewski
Info:Sandpiper (2007), Paperback, 32 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:traditional tales

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Golem by David Wisniewski

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A historical story about a rabbi who creates a clay giant in order to protect the people of a small town.
  Abdullah9000 | Aug 13, 2014 |
Golem by David Wisniewski. Section 9 A: Juvenile (elementary school), Religion and Values.
In ancient Prague, Jews were forced to live apart in ghettoes, and were locked in at night. Even upon death they were not allowed outside the ghetto, but were buried there, one on top of the other, up to 12 bodies deep! Day by day, the Jews of Prague were attacked from all sides by Christians religious and political leaders, who made the lives of the Jews dangerous and miserable. What could be done to save the Jews?
Legend has it that a very righteous Rabbi Loew of Prague, experienced in the mystical teachings of the Jewish Cabala, created a man – a huge man with superhuman strength – from mere mud. The creation was called “Golem” (a Hebrew word for a shapeless mass) and he protected the Jews from harm. Once the Christians stopped attacking the Jews, the Golem was destroyed by the rabbi, but the mud preserved, just in case a golem were needed again.
In Jewish tradition, to create life is to approximate the power of almighty God. The making of a golem could only be performed by a most pious and righteous man well-versed in the Cabala, mystical writings that undertook to describe the hidden nature of God. Cabalistic beliefs were to be used only for good – to heal the sick and combat evil.
Considering the Jews’ long history of persecution and suffering, it is no wonder that the legend of the golem, with its superhuman strength, became popular. The idea of a golem was influential in Mary Shelley’s creation of Frankenstein.
One of the great things about this book is the illustrations. They are entirely made of cut paper, and they are extremely detailed. Buildings, architectural elements, water splashes, flames of fire – nothing is too difficult for Wisniewski to cut from paper. A page of notes at the end of the book tells the history of the golem legend. Wisniewski’s story and illustrations in Golem won The Caldecott Medal in 1997, for the most distinguished children’s story book of the year. It is a fine addition to our library. Only when our kids learn about religious persecution in safety by reading story books can they learn to identify and fight modern religious persecution, which still exists not only in the middle east, but in many parts of the world. ( )
  Epiphany-OviedoELCA | Aug 10, 2014 |
In 16th Century Prague the Jews needed protecting. Rabbi Loew used the mystical powers of Cabbalah to create Golem, a giant made from clay and brought to life. This book brings to life, through amazing cut-out illustrations, the legend of Golem.
  gfurth | Jun 12, 2014 |
A saintly Rabbi miraculously brings to life a clay giant, who helps him watch over the Jews of 16th-century Prague. ( )
  Stsmurphy | Jun 5, 2014 |
I didn't like reading this book at all. It was difficult to follow because of the language. There were a lot of religious words and names such as Rabbi Loew. It made it hard to follow what was going on. The mystical/fantasy theme was also difficult matched with this language. It went from receiving a message to God to creating a giant. It was difficult for me to enjoy it. The message of this book is how to use power. ( )
  mingra2 | May 6, 2014 |
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c. 1 Brodell Family
c. 2 Cramer - Barash Family
c. 3 Michael & Debra Davis
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0395726182, Hardcover)

Golem is the Hebrew word for shapeless man. According to Jewish legend, the renowned scholar and teacher Rabbi Loew used his powers to create a Golem from clay in order to protect his people from persecution in the ghettos of 16th-century Prague. (This was the time of the Blood Lie, when hostile gentiles claimed that Jews were mixing the blood of Christian children with the flour and water of matzo.) David Wisniewski's cut-paper collage illustrations--which earned him the Caldecott Medal in 1997--are the ideal medium for portraying the stark black-and-white forces of good and evil, pride and prejudice, as well as the gray area that emerges when the tormented clay giant loses control of his anger. Echoing the tension and mood of Frankenstein, Wisniewski sends the tragic giant back to the blood red earth that birthed him. The historical note on the last page offers a broader context for the legend, ultimately comparing the creation of Golem to the emergence of Israel. (Ages 8 and older) --Gail Hudson

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:49:42 -0400)

A saintly rabbi miraculously brings to life a clay giant who helps him watch over the Jews of sixteenth-century Prague.

(summary from another edition)

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