June 2020 -- Sivan-Tammuz 5780,  Volume 26, Issue 6

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The Hero in Me: Profiles of Heroes, Contemporary, Historical and Biblical

Story-based character development and building resilience in children is the focus of a new print and online series of booklets inspired by a groundbreaking exhibition at the Tel Aviv-based Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot and published by Behrman House. The Hero in Me, set to be released May 29, tells the stories of such well-known figures as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, legendary Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg, prominent human and Jewish rights activist Natan Sharansky, biblical figures King David and the prophet Isaiah, and 16th century philanthropist Dona Gracia Nasi, to help readers explore the essence of a hero.


“Storytelling is perhaps the most effective way to convey meaning to children,” said David Behrman, President of Behrman House. “These booklets provide bite-size insights into what makes a hero, and how our young readers can build those qualities into their own lives.”


“As a global cultural and educational institution, Beit Hatfutsot is constantly exploring new ways to reach world Jewry and people of all backgrounds,” said Itamar Kremer, Director of the Koret International School for Jewish Peoplehood at the Museum of the Jewish People. “We have a constant goal to creatively expand our content, and engage and immerse our target audiences online and off-line. The Hero in Me offers innovative ideas via both platforms.”


Written by Emma Carlson Berne, The Hero in Me,  consists of a set of five booklets for students and a guide for teachers parents and grandparents that focus on the character traits of courage, creativity, curiosity, fairness and kindness. Geared towards Jewish children in grades 4-5, students connect with their heritage on a deeper level by studying Jewish heroes from biblical to modern times, from young to old, and famous to lesser known, who embody these traits. The students are then asked to consider how they too, can incorporate these qualities into their daily lives.


Each booklet focuses on a character trait, with biographical sketches of two Jewish heroes (one historical, the other modern) whose lives exemplify that attribute and whose stories are presented interactively. Highlighted as well are profiles of heroic young people who embody the trait such as civil rights activists James Charney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.


“The qualities of the role models featured in The Hero in Me, are most pertinent to coping with the universal crisis we are in the midst of,” observed Shulamith Bahat, CEO, Beit Hatfutsot of America. “The virtues personified by the Jewish heroes who represent different eras, diverse backgrounds, experiences, genders and ages inspire perseverance, upholding of core values and resoluteness to face the challenges of uncertain times.”


The Museum of the Jewish People’s exhibition Heroes and Trailblazers of the Jewish People encourages children and their families to discover and redefine those qualities that make a hero. The exhibition features profiles and accomplishments of Jewish historical and contemporary figures including scientists, philosophers, cultural icons, inventors, athletes, designers and more.


E-book versions will  be available for Kindle and Apple. For more information or to order go to Amazon.