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Mendel Rosenbusch: Tales for Jewish Children [Hardcover]

Ilse Weber , Ruth Fisher , Hans Fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 8 2001
"Mendel Rosenbusch – Tales for Jewish Children."

Old Mendel Rosenbusch lives in a small house behind the synagogue in a country town. He is the most kind and generous man of God you could hope to meet.

All the children love Mendel – he always has a bowl of delicious baked goods for them when they visit him on the Shabbat.

Now, decent, friendly people love Mendel without knowing what makes him so likable; while stingy, unfriendly people always frown at him without really knowing why. Mendel Rosenbusch seems to know everything, and he has a wonderful gift for reading people’s eyes their most secret thoughts.

You see, Mendel Rosenbusch has a secret. One night an angel appeared to him and gave him an ancient coin. When he carries the magic coin with him, he becomes invisible. That was the wonderful gift God gave him in return for being so kindhearted.

Do you wonder what Mendel Rosenbusch does with his magical invisibility?

Translated into English for the first time, this collection of contemporary folk tales was first published in 1929 Czechoslovakia.


Product Details


Product Description

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-6-These Czech folktales are the work of a gifted writer who perished at Auschwitz. The title character, a good and wise man, is granted the power by the Almighty to become invisible at will. He uses his talent to help neighbors who are faced with crises and problems. Mendel is especially interested in the poor and children. Despite the supernatural element, Weber's tales paint a knowing portrait of small-town pre-Holocaust Jewish life in Central Europe. Her characters are multidimensional, interesting, and unpredictable. Their strengths and weaknesses mirror human nature. Her plots are original and filled with humor. The collection is imbued with the traditional Jewish beliefs that people can change for the better, and that doing the right thing for the wrong reason can lead to a more positive motivation. Moral lessons are subtle. An afterword by translator Hans Fisher describes how these tales were rediscovered and made available to English-speaking children. The author's fate and the fate of the communities about which she wrote lend poignancy to this excellent collection. The cover illustration of an old-fashioned-looking Mendel could deter readers.

Libby K. White, Jewish Vocational Services, Baltimore, MD

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Ilse Weber was born in 1903 in Witkowitz, Austria-Hungary, to an innkeeper's family. She attended German schools, and was fluent in Czech and Polish as well. She married Willi Weber in 1929, at the point in time when she was pursuing her overriding goal: to bring together the three cultures she held in high esteem: Jewish, Czech, and German. She was a prolific playwright, radio producer, children's author, and poet and published three books between 1927 and 1929. At age thirty-nine, and under Nazi persecution, she and her family were deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto, where she spent the most difficult, and creative, two years of her life, composing poetry and performing her songs for children and the elderly. She perished at age forty-one at Auschwitz in 1945 along with her son Tommy and other inmates from the Theresienstadt Children's Home.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Invisible Man Rectifies Wrongs Aug. 24 2001
Format:Hardcover
This beautifully written book by Ilse Weber, who perished in the Concentration Camp at Theresenstadt,tells enchanting stories for children. The hero is an old man who loves children and is beloved by them. Through the gift of becoming invisible at will he is able to observe and intervene in the lives of the people in his town. His interventions are always gentle and in the service of doing good, especially for the children. like most fairy tales, each story points out the moral good. But unlike the grim tales of the brothers'Grimm and most other fairy tales, there is no violence in these stories. They are good humored and upbeat. Rosenbush is a loving and lovable character. Of course, all of his good deeds are anonymous. The stories are aimed at elementary school aged chilren, but are so charming and sufficiently complex that they are very engaging for adults. All the adults we have shared them with are similarly smitten and are delighted to read them with their children and grandchildren. The translaters, Dr. Hans and Ruth Fisher, discovered an ancient copy of the book, originally written in German. As a child this had been Hans Fisher's favorite book. He immediately translated it for his own children and grandchildren with his wife's assistance. This led to its ultimate publication in English. Ilse Weber was a popular Czech writer of stories, poems and music during the 1920-s and 30's. As a Jew, she was tranported and murdered in the concentration camp.
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Format:Hardcover
Mendel Rosenbusch: Tales For Jewish Children is a splendidly entertaining and highly recommended collection of eleven instructive tales, each set in a rural Czech village. These stories feature Mendel Rosenbusch, a wise, wonderful, poor man of God who lives in a small house behind the synagogue. One night, Mendel is visited by the angel Rafael, who places a ancient Jewish coin called a Shekel on his blanket. Rafael reveals that "When you carry this coin with you, Mendel, then you will become invisible, and the coin will continue its magic power as long as your secret remains undiscovered." What follows are stories of how Mendel uses his magical invisibility to intervene in the lives of the townspeople. Each of the stories teaches young readers how to behave properly and to learn that virtue entails doing the right thing. A prolific playwright, poet, and children's author, Ilse Weber's wonderfully told folktales are ably translated into English by Ruth and Hans Fisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A splendidly entertaining and highly recommended collection Aug. 17 2001
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Mendel Rosenbusch: Tales For Jewish Children is a splendidly entertaining and highly recommended collection of eleven instructive tales, each set in a rural Czech village. These stories feature Mendel Rosenbusch, a wise, wonderful, poor man of God who lives in a small house behind the synagogue. One night, Mendel is visited by the angel Rafael, who places a ancient Jewish coin called a Shekel on his blanket. Rafael reveals that "When you carry this coin with you, Mendel, then you will become invisible, and the coin will continue its magic power as long as your secret remains undiscovered." What follows are stories of how Mendel uses his magical invisibility to intervene in the lives of the townspeople. Each of the stories teaches young readers how to behave properly and to learn that virtue entails doing the right thing. A prolific playwright, poet, and children's author, Ilse Weber's wonderfully told folktales are ably translated into English by Ruth and Hans Fisher.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invisible Man Rectifies Wrongs Aug. 24 2001
By Robert Sherman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This beautifully written book by Ilse Weber, who perished in the Concentration Camp at Theresenstadt,tells enchanting stories for children. The hero is an old man who loves children and is beloved by them. Through the gift of becoming invisible at will he is able to observe and intervene in the lives of the people in his town. His interventions are always gentle and in the service of doing good, especially for the children. like most fairy tales, each story points out the moral good. But unlike the grim tales of the brothers'Grimm and most other fairy tales, there is no violence in these stories. They are good humored and upbeat. Rosenbush is a loving and lovable character. Of course, all of his good deeds are anonymous. The stories are aimed at elementary school aged chilren, but are so charming and sufficiently complex that they are very engaging for adults. All the adults we have shared them with are similarly smitten and are delighted to read them with their children and grandchildren. The translaters, Dr. Hans and Ruth Fisher, discovered an ancient copy of the book, originally written in German. As a child this had been Hans Fisher's favorite book. He immediately translated it for his own children and grandchildren with his wife's assistance. This led to its ultimate publication in English. Ilse Weber was a popular Czech writer of stories, poems and music during the 1920-s and 30's. As a Jew, she was tranported and murdered in the concentration camp.
5.0 out of 5 stars For all children -- ages 7 - 12 Oct. 8 2013
By GramE - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Short, charming and gentle stories deliver important messages of kindness, charity, love. Suitable for imaginative children approximately ages 7 - 12.
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