Interfaith Children’s Book about Jewish and Muslim Boys
By Laura Paull
Rabbi Sheldon Lewis, rabbi emeritus of Congregation Kol Emeth in Palo Alto, has long been engaged in interfaith reconciliation efforts in the Middle East. In 2012, he published a book on peaceful conflict resolution within Jewish sources titled “The Torah of Reconciliation.” On some level, however, he believes that peace must begin with children. With the publication this year of the second in his series of kids’ books about two “thumb-sized” boys in Jerusalem — one Jewish, one Palestinian Muslim — Rabbi Lewis makes his commitment to that concept clear. “I think education is key for reconciliation to be achieved in the Middle East,” he says. That’s what gives Lewis the impetus to write children’s literature, although he has always loved telling stories to children. “More Mini Adventures in Jerusalem” follows the earlier “Mini Adventures in Jerusalem,” in which the two tiny boys (known as k’tonton in Hebrew) meet in a crack in the Western Wall. A chapter book, delightfully illustrated by Kim Howard, Lewis’ former student, “More Mini Adventures” has the boys finding one another again at the Wall, riding a squirrel, making friends in Jerusalem and so on. “ The book’s designer is a Muslim friend in Palo Alto, Regina Basari. “This book is an interfaith project by example: written by a Jew, illustrated by a Christian, designed by a Muslim, and published by a large German publishing house set up to publish Jewish voices,” Lewis said.
(Laura Paull is J.’s Culture Editor, and was a longtime J. freelance writer before that).