Sylvia Rouss, for the PJ Library catalog.

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Why We Chose This Book: Yosef's Dream

Yosef's Dream, cover

Throughout history, the Jewish people have had to uproot themselves and walk through deserts, travel in steerage, and board aircrafts previously foreign to them. Yosef’s Dream by Sylvia Rouss tells of a recent Jewish migration--that of the Jews of Ethiopia.

The book is based on Operation Solomon, a humanitarian mission that transported 14,000 Jewish people from Ethiopia to Israel in the early 1990s. In the story, Yosef, the young protagonist, deams that an eagle offers to fly him to his new home, far away.

Soon after, Yosef and his family set off on a long journey to board one of the planes that will take them to Israel. During the flight, Yosef’s mother gives birth to Yosef’s baby brother (in the book’s Author’s Note we learn that seven babies were born during the 34 Operation Solomon flights).

Immigration and migration, refugees and welcoming guests, hachnasat orchim,--these topics are extremely relevant today. Yosef’s Dream not only tells us about recent history, it is also a launching pad for parents and children to talk about immigration and refugees fleeing war torn countries right now. “In every generation, every person must see themselves as if they came out of Egypt.” Books teach and foster empathy--and that’s why the PJ Library Book Selection Committee chose Yosef’s Dream.

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