About this project
Legends of the Talmud will introduce readers aged 6+ to one of the oldest and most influential texts of Judaism: the Talmud. Although often viewed as a collection of religious laws, the Talmud is also a cultural legacy filled with foundational Jewish ideas and magical tales.
The five stories curated in Legends of the Talmud are presented without doctrinal overlay. They are recounted exactly as they are in the original text: cultural treasures that depict earthy and frank experiences of love, suffering, hope and persistence that all humans grapple with as we move through life.
Written by Leah Vincent and Samuel Katz and illustrated by Aya Rosen, this revolutionary book will introduce children of all backgrounds to the Talmud and allow Jewish legends to proudly take their place in the global library of ancient magical stories.
Help us bring Legends of the Talmud to life by backing us at one of the levels listed to the right! Pledge at the startling levels to receive your own copies of this book or pledge at a higher level for some amazing perks.
Legends of the Talmud is the perfect Chanukah gift, the perfect Bat/Bar Mitzvah gift, the perfect birthday gift and the perfect way to share authentic ancient Judaism wisdom with readers of any age and any background.
In less than THREE days, Legends of the Talmud met its initial backing goals!!!!
You rock!! Thank you for backing the project and for sharing it with your friends!
We’ve added a NEW stretch goal --- if we hit $4,500 in backing – EVERYONE who has backed at $25 or more at any time during this campaign will get a special Legends of the Talmud bookmark added to their rewards package! The extra funds will allow us to print a larger run of books and complete the project faster.
Let your friends know about this awesome project so they can get their own copy of Legends of the Talmud!
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THE FIVE STORIES OF LEGENDS OF THE TALMUD:
1. Welcome: For the Love of Chanina
Rabbi Chanina, who has a love of learning that will not be contained by any rules, welcomes us to the world of the Talmud. We meet his daughter, Bruriah, a famous sage, and Rabbi Chanina teaches us that learning has the power to link people of different times and places together.
2. Hillel the Sage
An old woodcutter named Hillel decides to abandon all he knows to pursue his dream of becoming a scholar. One morning, Hillel cannot scrape together the daily entrance fee for school. What he does next will change his own fate and the course of Jewish history, forever. Stitching two tales together, we show how Hillel’s personal journey helped him develop one of the most famous teachings of compassion.
3. The Test of the Bitter Waters
The Sotah, a woman accused of infidelity, is one of the most prominent female figures in the Talmud. Although we tell the story without alluding to the nature of the misdeed she is accused of, this tale might seem like an unusual choice for inclusion, but by taking an unusual yet completely textually authentic approach, we present a strong story about gender, power and the importance of knowing one's own truths, while raising questions about the nature of good and evil and the power of magic versus determination. This fresh perspective also reminds the reader that there are silenced voices to listen for when we visit the past.
4. It Is Not In Heaven
It Is Not In Heaven is a classic Talmud tale. Our version not only includes the famous story that pits the power of the supernatural against the power of democracy, it continues on, as the original text does, to introduce us to Ima Shalom, a woman who shows us that compassion is the most powerful force of all.
5. The Matron and Reb Yose
A sweet and wistful story of love brings two wise friends together: Rabbi Yose and a powerful Roman matron. Engaging in thoughtful dialogue, a conversation about love inspires the matron to concoct an experiment to test her theories. This lyrical story explores some of the more complex realities of relationships that can be absorbed by readers in different ways, at different places in their lives.
We hope to raise a minimum of $3600 to cover some of the basic costs of completing the text and drawings and taking the manuscript through the publishing process, on a tiny scale.
We hope that this project resonates with many people and we will be able to print a massive run of books. If we exceed our goal and reach a stretch goal of $9,500, we will use the extra funds to expand EVERY book to include a very special sixth story:
Perhaps the oldest recorded version of this globally told tale, this story features a couple whose circumstance demand that they separate. But the woman decides to challenge her fate and with a clever scheme, she manages to overpower the laws of the books and the laws of nature and the woman and the man live happily ever after, together.
ABOUT THE TEAM
Leah Vincent’s grandfathers, father, five brothers, four brother-in-laws and countless male cousins devoted much of their lives to studying Talmud - an activity Leah was barred from participating in, because she was a girl. As a long time lover of fairytales, Leah conceived of this project as a way to reclaim her heritage and present a more inclusive form of Jewish culture to her own daughter. Leah’s first book, a memoir, was published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Jewish Daily Forward, Time.com, Kveller, ZEEK, the Huffington Post, Unpious and the Daily Beast.
Samuel Katz began studying Talmud at the age of nine, at United Talmudical Academy in Brooklyn and later at the Yeshiva Mateh Efraim. At sixteen, he went to study at the prestigious Slabodka Yeshiva in Israel, as one of the school’s youngest students. For two years, he learned under the tutelage of Rabbi Moshe Hillel Hirsch, one of the greatest Talmudic scholars in the Orthodox Jewish community. Samuel earned a bachelors degree in Biochemistry from Stony Brook University in 2013. He is currently a Fulbright scholar conducting biomedical research in Berlin.
Aya Rosen grew up in a secular liberal home and attended a secular and liberal school in Israel. In high school, she was taught how to read, decipher and approach Talmud chapters, and found the texts to be magical, interesting and thought provoking as well as very graphically appealing. Aya's artwork has been shown in solo and group gallery shows. She lives in Brooklyn, where she work as a part of a photography team with her husband Ned. They have two dogs, Ginger and Nutmeg.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Five full color stories presented in a professional standard 5x8 hardcover book, printed on high quality paper stock.
**At this time shipping is only available to locations within the United States.**
The text of Legends of the Talmud is almost fully complete and we’ve almost completed the illustrations for three of the five stories. We hope to complete the book by September 2014, and have them shipped out to backers BEFORE HANUKKAH 2014*!!
*At this point we plan to self-publish, but if we do end up partnering with a traditional publisher whom we are confident can add extra value to the project, the timeline might be slightly delayed. All backers will still receive, at a minimum, the perks listed on the right.
Risks and challenges
Each member of our team has an extensive creative portfolio and we all have experience meeting deadlines. We are confident that we can complete this project and send out your rewards as a soon as possible!
As with all Kickstarter projects, your pledge will only be delivered to us if we reach our goals, and if we don't meet our goal, you will not be charged.
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