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With reviews by Goldy, a teen who has read them all (well, most of them).

Stories My Grandfather Told Me

This is one of the best-kept secrets of Jewish literature. In this remarkable collection, Zev Greenwald has connected the weekly Torah portion (parsha) to true stories (some of them legendary) of great Jews doing great things.

The best use of this book is to read it to your kids at the Shabbat table. But one should be prepared to be selective, and use the story as a vehicle for a meaningful conversation.

Here is a random sample:

The town of Drozhenik, near Grodno, was a place to which many people flocked for the medical benefits of the bracing and healthful air. R' Chaim Ozer Grodzinski, Rabbi of Vilna, was one of those people.
  On his arrival, one of the local Jews volunteered to search for an apartment for the honored visitor, but R' Chaim Ozer preferred to do that himself. Two apartments were suggested to him. One of them quickly found favor with R' Chaim Ozer and his companions.
  Before he made his decision, however, R' Chaim Ozer said hesitantly, "The apartment is very good, but ihas one drawback: The rooms are far from the kitchen!"

  "Why is that a problem?" his friend asked in wonder.
  "It will be a bother for the maid, who will have to carry the food from the kitchen to the distant dining room. Because the matter affects her, we must ask her opinion before renting the apartment."

At this point, the parent might ask the children, "Do you think he was right or wrong to worry about the maid's feelings?"

Goldy says: "These are the best books for the Shabbat table!"

The 5-volume set was translated from the Hebrew by Libby Lazewnik and includes periodic illustrations by Tova Katz.

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Zev Greenwald

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