My daughter received her first book through Sifriyat Pijama B’ America (which distributes free Hebrew language materials to American children, particularly those with Israeli parents or grandparents) this week. The first selection was Lea Goldberg’s classic Hayeled Hara (The Bad Boy). My children enjoyed the story–about a boy who blames his naughty behavior on the “bad boy” inside him–and found the illustrations quite charming. The directions for parents explain the book connects to the mishnah in Pirke Avos about “Who is the strong man? The one who controls his inclination (for bad).” The message fits perfectly into this season of Elul, where we are supposed to carefully consider our actions and resolve to do better in the coming year. I’m going to see if I can get my bigger kids to read it to the little ones for their own Hebrew language practice.
I should point out that not only are the Sifriyat Pijama B’ America books in Hebrew (with nekudot), but the parent directions are in Hebrew, too. There was hardly any English at all in the entire package. The result: a little fumbling around with a English-Ivrit dictionary in the Klempner household before we could introduce the book to our children.
The program is now at capacity, but will add new members in December. You can get on the waiting list here: