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DYBBUK by Barbara Rogasky


A Version

by Barbara Rogasky & illustrated by Leonard Everett Fisher

Age Range: 11 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2005
ISBN: 0-8234-1616-X
Publisher: Holiday House

From Jewish folklore comes this tale of a restless spirit that enters the body of a living being. Wealthy Sender wants the best for his daughter, Leah, and arranges a marriage with a rich man. When she meets poor scholar Konin, however, they fall instantly in love. Neither knows that fate had decreed their love match before they were born. Their respective fathers, once best friends, had made a solemn pact that their children would someday marry. Doleful consequences ensue when Sender breaks his promise: Konin dies of anguish; Leah invites his ghost to the wedding; he inhabits her body on the day she is to be married; and an exorcism is performed. The moral lesson is a Romeo and Juliet–like ending, in which Leah joins Konin in death. Rogasky’s retelling, seemingly narrated by an oral storyteller, is strong and to the point and filled with Yiddish and Hebrew words, inflections and religious references; Fisher’s monochromatic paintings of shtetl life are vigorous and dramatic. (Folklore. 11-14)