Barefoot in the Sand
Written by: Haya Divon
Illustrated by: Rotem Teplow
For generations, across the globe, Jews have dreamed of returning to Eretz Yisrael. When the characters in this book make their shared dream come true, and two new olim (immigrants) from distant lands meet on Israeli soil, they do not look alike at all – they do not speak the same language, nor dress similarly. What can possibly make them connect? This book is about a dream that came true, uniting people from faraway lands, and is based on a true story.
"We were like those who dream"
In the Book of Psalms, the return to Zion is described as a dream come true, a journey back to the Promised Land that is filled with joy and laughter. Many families have come to Israel from afar. Much like the characters in this book, they had dreamed of returning to the land of their forefathers, a place where they can "build and be built", make their dreams come true, knowing with certainty that if we only will it – it is no dream.
Enjoy reading and discussing this book together!
Proposed Family Activities:
- This book is based on a true story. Perhaps your child could read it with a member of an older generation, such as a grandparent, uncle or aunt. Wouldn't it be wonderful if by doing so, you will learn some family stories you had not heard before? It may be advisable to make an audio, video or hand-written record of them!
- You may enjoy leafing through the book together and pointing out signs of the time that have been incorporated into the illustrations. Perhaps you could look for old photographs of family members at home, and focus on the clothes, hair styles, and various objects they had back in their homelands.
- Where has your family come from? How many generations has your family been living in Israel? You may want to open an atlas, place some tracing or parchment paper on top of the world map, and draw arrows on it to mark the journey made by your family before coming to Israel. You could also use online software, such as Google Maps, to take a virtual tour of your family members' homelands.
- Do you also have a personal or family dream? It may be fun for each member of your family to write down their dream on a piece of paper, insert it into an empty bottle, and seal it with a cork or top. You can return to your bottles in a year, and check whether the dreams you wrote came true.
- The new olim in this book have different customs, languages, and clothes. Sometimes, different customs, clothes, and traditions can be found within the same family. How about teaching your children some words in their grandparents' mother tongue? Or reminding one another of your special family traditions and songs.
- The two new olim in the book sing a liturgic song together, originating in Psalms and found in the Hallel prayer:
"בצאת ישראל ממצרים בית יעקב מעם לועז..."
Do you know the tune to this song? How about singing it together? You could also look up other tunes online at www.zemereshet.co.il.