Sunday, March 31, 2013

Book Recommendation: On the Seventh Night of Passover

Miriam's Cup: A Passover Story
written by Fran Manushkin, illustrated by Bob Dancey

Drawing from the Bible, Midrashim, and Aggadot, this book tells the story of the prophet Miriam, who was Moses' older sister. At Passover, a modern day Jewish mother tells her daughter Miriam and son Elijah the story of her daughter's namesake. When the prophet Miriam was young, her family lived as slaves in Egypt with the rest of the Israelite people. When Pharaoh proclaimed there were too many Israelite slaves, and that all the baby boys be killed, Miriam's parents--along with other parents--decided they must divorce so there would be no more sons to kill. Though she was only six-years old at the time, Miriam convinced her father that his decision to divorce her mother was wrong and her parents remarried. Later, when Moses was born, Miriam watched over him when their mother placed him in a reed basket on the Nile river. When an Egyptian princess found Moses and decided to adopt him, Miriam offered the princess her own mother to be Moses' nurse. The book goes on to tell the story of Moses and his fight for the Israelites' freedom--the basis for the Passover celebration. Once their people are free, Miriam leads the women in song and dance in praise to God for their deliverance. With a story that can often be male-centric, it's great to see a book that celebrates the important role Miriam played in her brother Moses' life and the Passover story. An Author's Note explains where the author gleaned her information, the tradition of placing "Miriam's cup" on the Seder table at Passover, and more.

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