SAN DIEGO –Jewish tweens and teens who enjoyed the Harry Potter series by J.K.Rowling may find themselves charmed by a new juvenile fiction series launched by Karen Goldman about a village in the northern part of Israel where all the children have special powers.
Jordan, who was named for the nearby Jordan River, can change himself into any form of water — whether it be a gentle brook or a powerful wind-driven tsunami. His little brother can spot auras. Another child in the neighborhood can manipulate clouds, while yet another, just by imagining, can bring strange animals to life.
Yet, if anyone were to visit the fictional Kfar Keshet (Rainbow Village), one wouldn’t suspect the children were different from any other kids.. Like the Super-Heroes that seem to make their homes in America, these children live by a code of honor. They are supposed to use their powers only for good. Sometimes, however, the line of demarcation between the public interest and self-interest is not always clear to our young heroes.
In this introductory volume, an old Israeli man left crazed by the loss of a family member in a terrorist bombing, decides the only way there ever can be peace among Arabs and Israelis is if all differences among people, whether living or dead, are erased.
To do this, he decides, humanity must be replaced. Utilizing ancient Kabbalistic texts, he creates a golem — a soulless man made from mud — and puts it to work on a plan to eliminate the people of Kfar Keshet. Recognize the threat against their village, the young heroes decide they will have to team up to defeat the powerful golem and its sinister master.
I don’t know whether non-Jewish children will enjoy this book because within it there are numerous Hebrew words and Israeli names that will be unfamiliar to them. However, we should remember that the Potter series required us muggles to learn a whole new vocabulary.
Although no political point of view is directly expressed in this work of fiction, it’s not to difficult to know from the street names in Kfar Keshet the political leanings of the villagers. They are named for such leaders as Ze’ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin.
This review originally appeared in the San Diego Jewish World