Review: Dream by Dream: The Story of Rabbi Mayer Wise
Dream by Dream The Story of Rabbi Mayer Wise
by Geri Kolesar, illustrated by Sofia Moore
Kar-Ben Publishing (imprint of Lerner Publishing Group), 2023
This picture book biography of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise details his life from his childhood experiences of poverty and antisemitism in Europe to his development of Reform Judaism in America. We learn about his revolutionary ideas of girls learning Talmud along with boys, women and men being treated as equals in Jewish life and sitting together in synagogue, as well as adding instrumental music to Shabbat services. These objectives were originally disruptive but later found acceptance and sparked a form of Judaism which has grown and become part of the established Jewish world. A remarkable powerhouse, he initiated construction of a major synagogue, began a Jewish newspaper, and founded Hebrew Union College, all still in existence. His dream of a tolerant and universally welcoming Judaism lives on.
The Jewish representation is present on every page of this book. The delicate artwork adds to this with images of synagogue worship, Shabbat dinner, and the Rabbi’s wedding under the chuppah. The characters are dressed in traditional clothing with black hats, payos, and later in the book, small kippot demonstrating his newer style of observance. Extensive backmatter, a timeline, and the clear lively text make this a welcome addition to all library collections.
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