Seeds From Our Past

Seeds From Our Past: Planting For The Future edited by Corinne Stavish. Washington, D.C. B'nai B'rith Center for Jewish Identity, 1997. ISBN 0-910250-31-6. paper, 96 pp. $9 + $2 s/h.

Parents, teachers, and leaders looking for brief but pithy stories to lead to discussion of values need look no further. Editor Corrine Stavish has gathered 32 Jewish stories and folktales and organized them by obvious themes for easy access. Some of the themes are family, drinking/drugs, self-respect, special needs, and honesty /dishonesty.

Stories, Stavish says, are the seeds we plant now which will nourish future generations. How vital that we take the time to use stories such as these not only for entertainment but also to educate, inspire and preserve values. Stories are the bridge between peoples and between generations. Jewish stories in particular, are rich in Wisdom. Dov Noy, Director of the Israel Folktale Archives (IFA) says, "...the Jewish folktale is future-oriented urging the listener to adopt an ideal or goal as yet unrealized, to improve his ways and change his attitudes."

Many of the stories are familiar ones, gleaned from collections by Penninah Schram, Howard Schwartz, and others. Some of the stories are traditional tales retold by Stavish.

In her introduction, and again in the discussion guide, Stavish points out that there is no one meaning to a story. Each listener must be free to experience the story in his /her own way, and take from it whatever the story has to offer at that time.

Communication and understanding rather than , “ coHim himrrect answers" are the goals. Stavish, a storyteller from Southfield, Michigan, is I known for her telling of Jewish tales, and for her thoughtful and thought-provoking workshops on such topics as the case for justice in folklore. In this collection she once again proves to have her finger on the pulse of the community in providing for it an invaluable resource.

Out-of-print as per website

The Second Story Review, Vol 3, No. 2, June 1998
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