Storybooks with Inner Light for Hanukkah & Always:

 Light Touch, Deep Meaning

Dear companions, Two books my beloveds and I have written have been revised and republished by Ben Yehuda Press.  They are both collections of stories – profound, funny, hopeful, loving. Full of light in a time of dark:

You could order these two storybooks  for Hanukkah by

clicking to

One book is full of quirky graphics. It’s called Before There Was a Before, and it’s about the Creation of the world. God is a character in the stories, and so are Hippopotamus and Woman and Redwood, all learning from each creative act how to do another.

It was written mostly by David and Shoshana Waskow when they were 10 and 7 years old. I had brought home a library book of Creation stories, and the kids turned up their noses. “Boring!” they said. “How could Creation be boring?”

– “You think you could do better?” I asked.

–- “Sure!”

So I said, “You dictate and I’ll write!” And they did. And I did.

About that title: I said, “So how does the story start?” One of the kids said, “All stories start ‘Once upon a time –-‘ ”

But the other kid said, slow and thoughtful: “Not this one. There wasn’t any time. There wasn’t any before, there wasn’t any after.  This --- It’s before there was a Before.”

The writing went on like that. That’s what happens when you ask kids a question instead of telling them The Answer.

Result: A great book to read with your kids. Or your grandkids. Or your schoolkids. Or for that matter, your closest love, if she, he, or they likes to laugh.

How do I know? Because Madeleine L’Engle, who brilliantly wrote A Wrinkle in Time and is laughing with God right now, got to read and see this book before she – passed? – transitioned? -- died?  She wrote us: “I enjoyed reading it very much indeed. I am always delighted when somebody points out that God has a sense of humor.”

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And there’s another book of stories:


 The tale of Mother Rachel’s challenge to God during the Death March to Babylon: “You are a jealous God, and you punished your people because they celebrated dead sticks and stones for comfort? I was a jealous sister, jealous of my live sister Leah who stole my beloved Jacob – but I loved her too, so much I could not humiliate her. How dare You?” 

And what would Messiah do on the very last Tisha B’Av?

And when Noah and his wife Naamah woke from their looooong sleep to hear the Flood was coming round again, right now, and it was their job to save all  life this time, what did they learn and do?

And there were seven, not just four, great teachers who entered Pardes, Garden, Paradise – the Talmud forgot three women when it told the story. What were they singing? And what was “Paradise,” anyway?

Tales you and your friend, your beloved, can read to each other on a cold night in Hanukkah, watching the candles flicker.

You could order these two storybooks  for Hanukkah by

clicking to

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You can get these books plus two more written and/or  edited by Phyllis and me – one of them totally new, called Liberating Your Passover Seder, by almost 40 essayists on how to transform your Seder. Among them: Rev. William Barber II, Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Dr. Susannah Heschel, and more!

The final fourth is Down-to-Earth Judaism: Food, Money, Sex, and the Rest of Life, Reb Arthur’s magisterial yet a pleasure-to-read look at the history and future of those major aspects of a Jewish life.

Order at

I'll be writing you in the next several days about the strange spiritual career of Hanukkah itself. If you want these books to bring some light into your life alongside the candles, order then now.

With blessings for shalom, salaam, peace, [az, namaste! --  Arthur


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