New York: United Synagogue Commission on Jewish Education, 1948. First edition of this children’s Hebrew educational book. With seventeen illustrations, include four double-page illustrations, and six vignettes in black. Also, with illustrated endpapers. Text in Hebrew with additional title-page in English. Ink library stamp to final page. Some minor toning. A very good copy, scarce in commerce. Publisher’s cream-colored pictorial cloth printed in green. Octavo. 56 pp. Item #17535
Hayim Pumpernickle, the hero of the story, is the young son of a cantor in Poland when the Nazis arrive. While the adults stay to fight the Nazis, five-year-old Hayim leads the children away from the town to safety, and then onboard a ship bound for the United States. When he arrives in the United States, he is greeted at the docks by a crowd of New Yorkers and the mayor of New York, all of whom had heard about his intelligence and his study of the Torah onboard the ship. Upon arriving in the city, Hayim heads to the New York Public Library, hoping to find a verse that he is convinced was lost from the Torah (which promises world peace). The mayor, the crowd of New Yorkers, Joe DiMaggio, and Frank Greenberg all follow him to the library, and even President Truman eventually joins the search. Though Hayim, after searching for fifty years, does not find the lost verse, the global search has ended all wars and ensured world peace.
Ben Aronin (1904 – 1980) was an actor, playwright, screenwriter, and Hebrew translator. The Chicago Jewish Historical Society called him “the Chicago Jewish community’s quintessential Renaissance Man... a lawyer, scholar, teacher, writer, summer camp counselor, and for many years director of extension activities at Anshe Emet. He wrote Jewish-themed songs and plays which are still performed today.” He appeared in the Magic Door children’s television series and wrote The Lost Tribe (1934), the book-length poem The Abramiad (1941), and The Cavern of Destiny (1943).