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Contemporary Jewish Life

  1. Behrman House’s Commitment to Diversity in Learning Materials Has Never Been Stronger

    We recently received a letter from “Concerned Citizen,” an anonymous 8th grader from Boston, who noticed that in the Hebrew series Z’Man L’Tefilah (Time for Prayer) “every single illustration in the book depicts white people,” and urged us to do better than to present “a singular image of Jews.”

    The student is right. This series, developed in the 1980s by the publishing company A.R.E., is illustrated with small line drawings that present what could be called an Ashkenazic world view, a view that North American Jews are exclusively descended from the Eastern European Jews who immigrated during the late 1800s and early 1900s as they fled pogroms and other atrocities.

    Behrman House took over distribution of this series in the early 2000s, and while we regularly review already published titles, as a small independent publisher we do not often have the budget to go back and

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  2. Salt and Honey: The Order is Overwhelming

    The Order is Overwhelming

    by Emanuelle Sippy

    from Salt & Honey: Jewish Teens on Feminism, Creativity, and Tradition


    Sometimes age is as muddled as life's unanswerable questions.


    Arbitrary, in our cravings for adulthood and infancy.


    Forget deciding--knowing alone is a task so cumbersome

    that control is not envied but rather exiled.


    When worry overpowers, I order life without


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  3. Even God Had Bad Parenting Days: ancient Jewish wisdom for new parents

    Alicia Jo Rabin’s musings on both heartening and cringe-worthy biblical examples of parenting helps stressed-out new parents recapture a sense of wonder at the process of raising small humans.
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  4. Awakenings: American Jewish Transformations in Identity, Leadership, and Belonging


    By Rabbi Joshua Stanton and Rabbi Benjamin Spratt

    Foreword by the Rev. Kaji Dousa. Afterword by Dr. Eboo Patel

    Pre-Order on Amazon

    Pre-Order through Indie Bound

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  5. The Blessing of Bewilderment: A Message of Hope for Post-Pandemic Life

    The Blessing of Bewilderment: A Message of Hope for Post-Pandemic Life

    By Rabbi Abraham Skorka

    Excerpted from Returning to Life After the Storm: Hope and Wisdom from Jewish SourcesBehrman House, 2021 


    As you read this, the pandemic began about two years ago. Vaccines have since been created and have been found mostly effective, but too many people have also refused to take them, and too many people in the world have not had easy access to them.

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  6. Recognizing and Reflecting the Diversity of the Jewish Community

    Recognizing and Reflecting the Diversity of the Jewish Community

    Community thrives on diversity. The Jewish community includes diversity of all kinds - geography, opinion, gender, religious practice, ability, family makeup, race, and more. All of these differences make the community stronger, more exciting, and more creative.  

    In fact, the population of Jews of color has been increasing in United States. In a report by the Jews of Color Field-Building Initiative, researchers estimate that Jews of color represent at least 12-15% of American Jews. More younger people identify as nonwhite than older people do. Learn more here.

    We recognize how important it is for Jewish children and families to see this diversity reflected in images as well as content, especially as they are creating and building their personal Jewish identities. Even young

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  7. Need a Little Laughter? Some Meshuggah Food Faces Can Help.

    Meshuggah Food Faces--Edible artwork for a crazy world. Who knew chopped liver, horseradish, and gefilte fish could have such rich emotional lives?

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  8. Pandemic Pivot

    Pandemic Pivot

    Behrman House Publisher David Behrman reflects on the silver linings of the pandemic lockdown, and challenges educators to wrestle with larger questions about our values and goals.

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  9. Reflecting the Diversity of the Jewish Experience

    Reflecting the Diversity of the Jewish Experience

    We are careful to tell stories and show images that mirror the diversity of the American Jewish population in all its facets.

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  10. It's Time for a New Conversation about Aging


    Think of people you know in their sixties and seventies. Now consider how that age group is portrayed in popular culture and advertising. 

    New research from the AARP finds that images of "seniors” do not reflect the reality of how older generations work and play today.  

     “Marketers reflect the culture and the conversation in our country,” said AARP’s Martha Boudreau in a recent New York Times article. “Stereotypes about the 55-plus demographic are really limiting people’s sense of what they can do with this half of their lives.”

    Ageist marketing is just one e

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