Jewish Identity and American Acceptance: Welcoming a Firstborn Son in Two Classic Children's Books
Keywords:Jewish identity, children's literature, gender, family relationships, family ritual, assimilation, illustrated books, brit milah, pidyon ha-ben
Jewish-American-themed children’s fiction often includes descriptions of ritual observance. Yet, although ritual circumcision (brit milah, or bris) is a requirement in halacha (Jewish religious law) for all newborn males, this event is virtually absent from Jewish children’s books; the incorporation of a surgical procedure would create obvious narrative difficulties. Sydney Taylor and Sadie Rose Weilerstein, two of the most important twentieth century Jewish-American children’s authors, each wrote a series of books including a newborn son. Instead of a bris, they both included the less common, nonsurgical ritual of pidyon ha-ben. Thus, they eluded a problematic description, while informing readers about a lesser-known Jewish practice.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2022 Emily Schneider
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Authors are the copyright holders of articles publishind by Judaica Librarianship.