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October 9, 2015 | 26th Tishrei 5776
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Year of Jewish Stories

URJ Press Publishes A Year of Jewish Stories

A Collection of Jewish Tales for Families to Read Together



A new collection of fifty-two tales, published by the URJ Press, uses the magic of storytelling to help parents and children explore Jewish values together while creating positive Jewish memories


A Year of Jewish Stories includes both original fables as well as classic Jewish stories from the Bible, Talmud, midrash, and traditional folklore—updated with modern sensibilities in mind. Written by Grace Ragues Maisel and Samantha Shubert and illustrated by Tammy L. Keiser, the book enables contemporary Jewish children to form a lasting connection with the rich oral tradition of their ancestors.


Organized around the Jewish calendar, the book contains stories for every holiday and for the weeks in between. For Rosh Hashanah, there is a midrash about the origin of mankind; for Pesach, a folktale about a perfect seder originally recounted in Martin Buber’s Tales of the Hasidim; and for Purim, an original story about the lovable fools of Chelm.


Maisel, a physician, and Shubert, an editor, met when their eldest children were nursery school classmates at Temple Shaaray Tefila in New York City. Seeking to answer the question, “How can we help our children grow up happy to be Jewish?” they created A Year of Jewish Stories to give parents everywhere an enjoyable, participatory way to help their sons and daughters establish positive Jewish identities. They were joined in their endeavor by Keiser, also the mother of young children, whose vibrant, colorful illustrations help the stories come alive in the eyes of the youngest learners.


“We are offering you an easy and open invitation into the richness of Jewish life – the aroma of freshly baked challah, the warmth of a teacher’s hug, the sound of the Red Sea parting,” Maisel and Shubert write in the book’s introduction. “We welcome parents and small children, non-Jewish friends and family, educators and school kids, camp counselors, rabbis, grandparents – anyone who thirsts and hungers for a Jewish identity.”


A Year of Jewish Stories is available in hardcover and retails for $29.95. It can be ordered by contacting the URJ Press at 212.650.4120,, or by visiting the URJ Press Web site at


The URJ Press is the book-publishing arm of the Union for Reform Judaism (formerly the Union of American Hebrew Congregations). The Union is the central body of the Reform Movement in North America, and unites more than 1.5 million Reform Jews in 900 congregations across the United States and Canada. The Union’s programs and services include music and book publishing, adult education opportunities, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC.




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