Reform Jewish publisher offers a mystical, imaginative new collection of Jewish short stories by Rabbi Zoë Klein appropriate for all ages.
New York, NY – May 2023 – CCAR Press, a division of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, is pleased to announce the publication of the Candle, Feather, Wooden Spoon: New Jewish Stories by Rabbi Zoë Klein. This is Rabbi’s Klein’s first collection of short stories and the first such book published by CCAR Press. The volume includes a foreword by Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, rabbi emerita of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck in Indianapolis and the author of many books, including God’s Paintbrush and In God’s Name. Candle, Feather, Wooden Spoon is published by CCAR Press’s Reform Judaism Publishing imprint.
In Candle, Feather, Wooden Spoon, Rabbi Klein invites readers of all ages on twenty-two magical, mystical journeys. The collection’s first part, “Candle: Stories That Shine New Light on Tradition,” explores Jewish texts and teachings from new perspectives. This section contains stories such as “Time Palace,” which presents a legend of how the Jewish people created Shabbat (inspired by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel’s metaphor that Shabbat is a palace in time) and features a world in which seconds, minutes, and hours have collectible shape and form. The second part, “Feather: Modern Stories That Take Flight,” explores identity and relationship through a modern lens, such as in “Allison Searches for Her Hebrew Name,” a story of self-discovery and the power names hold in Jewish tradition. The final group, “Wooden Spoon: Stories That Stir Food for Thought,” mixes story with philosophy in an attempt to taste the transcendent, showcased in tales such as “Radiant Window: A Zoharic Journey,” a search for one’s true calling interspersed with verses of the Zohar, a foundational work of Jewish mysticism.
Rabbi Klein’s stories take readers through the forests and small towns of Europe, the times of the Hebrew Bible, and various contemporary settings. Colorful characters abound, with the archangels, Jonah’s whale, evil magicians, inquisitive children, and many others making appearances. Throughout, Rabbi Klein highlights essential components of living a meaningful Jewish life and encourages empathy, faith, fearlessness, and curiosity. Whether you’re a rabbi, cantor, or educator—the storytellers of our community—or simply a story lover, this book is sure to stir your heart and inspire your spirit.
Rabbi Klein pursued the rabbinate out of a passion for ancient texts, mythology, liturgy, and poetry, which remains evident in her roles as a clergy member and author. Rabbi Klein has served Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles, CA, since 2000 and was both associate rabbi and director of adult education prior to assuming her current position as senior rabbi. In addition to Candle, Feather, Wooden Spoon, Rabbi Klein is the author of the novel Drawing in the Dust (Gallery Books, 2009), a children’s story The Goblins of Knottingham: A History of Challah (Apples & Honey, 2017), and The Scroll of Anatiya (Wipf and Stock, 2009). Rabbi Klein’s writing is included in Teen Texts, Holy Ground: A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation and the CCAR Press titles The Sacred Exchange: Creating a Jewish Money Ethic (2019) and The Torah: A Women’s Commentary (2008). Her poems and prayers are used in houses of prayer around the world.
Rabbi Rachel Timoner, author of Breath of Life: God as Spirit in Judaism, says, “Rarely are we gifted with a glimpse of such expansive imagination that our world opens up and everything suddenly seems possible. These stories are exhilarating and magical, playful and profound, moving and visionary. They are portals into worlds—both breathtakingly new and resonantly familiar—for us, the Jewish people, to inhabit. I will be teaching these stories, reading them to my congregation, and including them in my sermons. And so will every rabbi you know. Mark my words: they’re going to change our world.”
“‘Magical’ is the only word for Rabbi Zoë Klein’s gathering of wise, deep, whimsical stories,” says Rabbi Edward Feinstein, author of The Chutzpah Imperative and Tough Questions Jews Ask. In the tradition of the greatest of our rabbinical teachers—who used imagination to engage the mind, heart, and spirit of our people—Rabbi Klein’s stories open our eyes, touch our souls, and invite us into a world of enchantment and wonder. This is a book to be cherished for the generations.”
“In Candle, Feather, Wooden Spoon, Rabbi Zoë Klein offers magical stories filled with wisdom to awaken our hearts, enchant our souls, and open our minds,” says Rabbi Naomi Levy, author of Einstein and the Rabbi and To Begin Again. “Mystical sparks infuse the mundane until the whole world begins to shimmer. This book is a blessing you will want to share with friends, children, students, and mentors, a work that will introduce you to new and healing visions of Judaism, self, humanity, and our world.”
“We are proud to publish this new collection from acclaimed author Rabbi Zoë Klein,” said Rafael Chaiken, director of CCAR Press. “We know that individuals looking for a meaningful read—as well as clergy who are always seeking more stories to tell—will connect deeply with this book, the first collection of fiction from CCAR Press.”
Candle, Feather, Wooden Spoon: New Jewish Stories is available at candle.ccarpress.org.
To request review copies, interview opportunities, or to book author events, please contact:
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