A Jerusalem Journey
Israeli kids and their aunt observe the holiday of Tisha B’Av, which commemorates the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, by visiting an archaeological dig at the Temple Mount and participating in their own hands-on dig, in this beautifully photographed book.
|Interest Level||Preschool - Grade 3|
|Reading Level||Grade 2|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Kar-Ben Publishing ®|
|Number of Pages||32|
Association of Jewish Libraries
“A family learns about ancient Jerusalem in the days of the Temple and about the modern observance
of Tisha B’Av in the best and most effective way of all – by exploring ancient sites in a hands-on
way; they dig, they walk, they photograph, they touch, they ask, and they listen to knowledgeable
guides. They walk where their ancestors walked and they learn as they go. The reader’s own tour is
accompanied by gorgeous full- and partial- page color photographs which make the city glow. Sites
visited in Jerusalem’s Old City include the Western Wall, Robinson’s Arch, the underground tunnels
where one can see buried sections of the Wall, and the Temple Mount Sifting Project where tourists
have a chance to become archaeologists themselves. They get a good sense of what life was like in the
days of the Temple and the magnitude of its loss.
When the touring day is over and evening falls, Tisha B’Av begins. The group returns to the Wall
to pray with others and experiences the loss of the ancient Temple through a modern-day lens. A note
with a historical explanation of Tisha B’Av is appended adding more perspective to this beautifully
written and designed book.”—Association of Jewish Libraries
“The latest entry in the Nature in Israel series (Sukkot Treasure Hunt, 2009) explains the origins of Tisha B’Av, a Jewish fast day that commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. A young boy narrates as he and other family members visit the Western Wall, tour the remains of the ancient temples, participate in a Temple Mount archaeological dig, and learn something of the history relevant to this holiday. Alpern’s crisp color photos expand upon the brief text, helping readers to better understand this day of reflection. The text is informative and positive throughout, despite the serious undercurrents of this day. An afterword details Tisha B’Av traditions (fasting, not wearing leather, not swimming, and sitting on low stools or the floor) and notes other tragic events—the Crusades and the Holocaust, for example—that modern Jews contemplate on this day. Overall an upbeat explanation of a solemn day, this fills a missing niche and will be welcomed in religious collections.”—Booklist
Jewish Book Council
“Spending a day with a young boy as he tells us about his tour through Jerusalem to learn about the somber holiday of Tisha B’Av becomes an engaging read full of information despite the dry topic. Colorful photographs in a varied layout show readers what our narrator sees as he follows guides with his little brother and older cousin. They not only gaze at the city from above or right in front, but go deep under it to see centuries-buried sections of the Temple Wall. The children look down deeper than they can walk as they gaze though glass at ancient finds. They get a hands-on chance to do their own sifting in the Temple Mount archaeological dig. They hurry home before dark because their grown-ups need to eat before a day-long fast which children do not have to follow. Readers learn the history of our two temples, destroyed 70 years apart, but on the same day. They learn Tisha B’Av is a symbol of Jewish suffering and a day of mourning both Temples. Holiday customs include recalling other tragic events such as the Crusades, sitting on the ground rather than on chairs, reading Lamentations, not swimming, and not wearing leather. In a cute, pointed ending the baby knocks over the narrator’s block model of the Temple–just what Tisha B’Av is all about.”—Jewish Book Council
Author: Allison Ofanansky
Allison Ofanansky, born in the U.S., moved to Israel and became an Israeli citizen in 1996. She lives in the village of Kaditah near the mystical city of Safed, with her husband Shmuel and daughter Aravah. They enjoy hiking the hills of the Galilee, gathering and eating the fruits that grow there. They are involved in environmental and eco-peace projects.
Photographer: Eliyahu Alpern
Born and raised outside Chicago and now living in Israel, photographer Eliyahu Alpern has been interested in food, travel, and photography since childhood. He's been a musician, cougar rehabilitator, vegetarian chef, organic farmer and multi-media maven. His photographic specialty is 360-degree panoramic images of Israel. He lives in the Upper Galilee with his family.