Recommended reading

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (   Joel Iskiwitch and John DeMott, authors of the  “What can you do?”  sidebar, are congregants at TE.

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

I had encouraged my son to read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” for a couple of years. So when he saw the movie at camp, he came home and read the book. And then we watched the movie as a family. Afterwards my husband made the comment to me that Roald Dahl may have been anti-Semitic. Questioning him, I headed straight for Google.

I was sharing this with a non-Jewish friend who asked if any of that came across in his literature. It had been too many years for me to recall but I did start to ask myself if I should encourage more of this author’s books? Should we read the literature of an individual with such strong personal views?

I realize I should delve into his beliefs about Jews and Judaism and perhaps re-read his children’s novels. Do I even tell my son what is apparently well-known knowledge? Does it matter?

I grew up experiencing a fair amount of anti-Semitism at my school where I could count the number of Jewish students of my 500 plus class on one hand. I recall slurs being painted on a family car that was sitting in our driveway as well as verbal taunts. It was not until I became involved in a temple youth group that I began to feel less isolated and lonely. I purposefully selected a college with a large number of Jewish students. I like to say that once I left high school I was never a minority again!

I am off to the library this week for more books for my son. Do you have any suggestions?