Further Reading

For further information:

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-golem

https://jewishreviewofbooks.com/articles/2390/brave-new-golems/

https://www.jewishbookcouncil.org/pb-daily/golem-stories-from-mysticism-to-fiction-to-the-realm-of-plausibility

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/le-chambon-sur-lignon

https://www.readthespirit.com/visual-parables/le-chambon-1997/

 

Children’s Books

The Golem's Latkes by Eric Kimmel

On the first night of Hanukkah, Rabbi Judah has too much to do and too little time to do it. Before the rabbi leaves to visit the emperor, he tells his housemaid Basha that she can ask the golem to help. While the golem makes latkes, Basha decides to visit a friend. Basha is having so much fun with her friend, she doesn't realize that latkes are pouring out of the rabbi's house, sending people running! Will Rabbi Judah come up with a solution to control the golem before it's too late? Illustrated with lively acrylic on wood, the book includes an Author's Note about the tale's origins.

The Golem: The Giant Made of Mud by Mark Podwal

A retelling of the Jewish legend of the golem created by the Rabbi to defend the Jews of Prague

Golem by David Wisniewski

Retold from traditional sources and accompanied by David Wisniewski's unique cut-paper illustrations, Golem is a dramatic tale of supernatural forces invoked to save an oppressed people. It also offers a thought-provoking look at the consequences of unleashing power beyond human control. The afterword discusses the legend of the golem and its roots in the history of the Jews. A Caldecott Medal Book.

 

B.U.G (Big Ugly Guy) by Jane Yolen

Sammy Greenberg would rather talk back to The Boyz--a gang of bullies at his school--and get his head stuck in the toilet than constantly be afraid. But when his friend Skink gets beaten up so badly that he has to go to the hospital, Sammy thinks he may be in over his head. He decides to build a golem--a mythical protector from Jewish folklore, made of clay and animated by the ineffable name of God. But this monster doesn't just protect him and Skink from The Boyz, he is also a great drummer for their rock-jazz-klezmer fusion band! But golems come with warnings. They will protect you until they don't.

 

Teen and Young Adult Books

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier 

A 2019 Sydney Taylor Book Award Winner!

It's been five years since the Sweep disappeared. Orphaned and alone, Nan Sparrow had no other choice but to work for a ruthless chimney sweep named Wilkie Crudd. She spends her days sweeping out chimneys. The job is dangerous and thankless, but with her wits and will, Nan has managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again. When Nan gets stuck in a chimney fire, she fears the end has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself unharmed in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature—a golem—made from soot and ash. Sweep is the story of a girl and her monster. Together, these two outcasts carve out a new life—saving each other in the process. Lyrically told by one of today's most powerful storytellers, Sweep is a heartrending adventure about the everlasting gifts of friendship and wonder.


The Alchemist's Door by Lisa Goldstein

The legend of the golem, an increasingly popular piece of Jewish folklore, and an obscure portion of medieval history come to intriguing life in this supernatural thriller from American Book Award-winner Goldstein (The Red Magician; Dark Cities Underground). Ambitious 16th-century (real-life) English alchemist John Dee and his associate, Edward Kelley, summon spirits to learn the nature of the world, but are unprepared when a demon answers their spells instead and threatens Dee's family. Hoping to escape, Dee and his family travel with Kelley to Prague, where they plan to ask the patronage of eccentric King Rudolf. In Prague, Dee meets Rabbi Judah Loew, who seek to learn the identity of Jewish legend's 36 righteous men, whose very existence protects the world from being remade by evil. Unfortunately, influenced by Kelley, Rudolf thinks that if he can find those righteous men and kill them, he will be able to remake the world to his own specifications. After escaping Rudolf's prison, Dee and Loew build a man of clay, a golem, to protect Prague's Jewish quarter from the king's soldiers, only to find once again that summoned powers can be hard to handle safely. In order to defeat evil, both men will first have to weigh their own magical abilities and realize that the power to create is merely the other side of the power to destroy. Although Goldstein's story has a tendency to meander all over the map, diluting her strong message about the cost of power and pride, Dee and Loew's search for truth makes for a telling morality tale.
 

The Golem and the Dragon Girl by Sonia Levitin

When Jonathan's family buys Laurel's house, this Jewish boy and Chinese American girl gradually become friends as they deal with ancestral spirits and changing family relationships
 

The Golem's Eye: A Bartimaeus Novel by Jonathan Stroud

The second adventure in the Bartimaeus trilogy finds Nathaniel working his way up the ranks of the government, when crisis hits. A seemingly invulnerable clay golem is making random attacks on London. Nathaniel and Bartimaeus must travel to Prague to discover the source of the golem's power.

The Golem's Mighty Swing by James Sturm

A new edition of the classic tale of a barnstorming Jewish baseball team during the great depression

Before penning his acclaimed graphic novel Market Day and founding the Center for Cartoon Studies, James Sturm proved his worth as a master cartoonist with the eloquent graphic novel, The Golem’s Mighty Swing, one of the first breakout graphic novel hits of the twenty-first century. Sturm’s fascination with the invisible America has been the crux of his comics work, exploring the rarely-told or oft-forgotten bits of history that define a country. By reuniting America’s greatest pastime with its hidden history, the graphic novel tells the story of the Stars of David, a barnstorming Jewish baseball team of the depression era. Led by its manager and third baseman, the nomadic team travels from small town to small town providing the thrill of the sport while playing up their religious exoticism as a curio for people to gawk at, heckle, and taunt. When the team’s fortunes fall, the players are presented a plan to get people in the stands. But by placing their fortunes in the hands of a promoter, the Stars of David find themselves fanning the flames of ethnic tensions. Sturm’s nuanced composition is on full display as he deftly builds the climax of the game against the rising anti-semitic fervor of the crowd. Baseball, small towns, racial tensions, and the desperate grasp for the American Dream: The Golem’s Mighty Swing is a classic American novel.


 

Adult Books

Snow in August by Pete Hamill

In 1940s Brooklyn, friendship between an 11-year-old Irish Catholic boy and an elderly Jewish rabbi might seem as unlikely as, well, snow in August. But the relationship between young Michael Devlin and Rabbi Judah Hirsch is only one of the many miracles large and small contained in Pete Hamill's novel. Michael finds himself in trouble when he witnesses the 17-year-old leader of the dreaded Falcons gang beating an elderly shopkeeper. For Michael, 1940s Brooklyn is a world still shaped by life in the Old Country, a world where informing on a fellow Irishman is the worst crime imaginable--worse even than the violent crimes committed by some of those fellows. So Michael keeps silent, finding solace in the company of Rabbi Hirsch, a Czech refuge whom he meets by chance. From this serendipitous beginning blossoms a unique friendship--one that proves perilous to both when the Falcons catch up with them.

Interlaced with Hamill's realistic descriptions of violence and fear are scenes of remarkable poignancy: the rabbi's first baseball game, where he sees Jackie Robinson play for the Dodgers; Michael's introduction into the mystical world of the Cabbala and the book's miraculous ending. Hamill is not a lyrical writer, but he is a heartfelt one, and this story of courage in the face of great odds is one of his best.

Three Great Jewish Plays by Joseph C. Landis

Contents: The Dybbuk (S. Ansk) * The Golem (H. Leivick) * God of Vengeance (Sholem Asch).

The Golem (Dedalus European Classics) by Gustav Meyrink 

Mike Mitchell has revised his translation and a new introduction has been added.

'A superbly atmospheric story set in the old Prague ghetto featuring the Golem, a kind of rabbinical Frankenstein's monster, which manifests every 33 years in a room without a door. Stranger still, it seems to have the same face as the narrator. Made into a film in 1920, this extraordinary book combines the uncanny psychology of doppelganger stories with expressionism and more than a little melodrama... Meyrink's old Prague ― like Dickens's London ― is one of the great creation of city writing, an eerie, claustrophobic and fantastical underworld where anything can happen.' Phil Baker in The Sunday Times

The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel by Helene Wecker

In The Golem and the Jinni, a chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on a dazzling journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York. Chava is a golem, a creature made of clay, brought to life to by a disgraced rabbi who dabbles in dark Kabbalistic magic and dies at sea on the voyage from Poland. Chava is unmoored and adrift as the ship arrives in New York harbor in 1899. Ahmad is a jinni, a being of fire born in the ancient Syrian desert, trapped in an old copper flask, and released in New York City, though still not entirely free, Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates with a mystical connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker's debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weaves strands of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction and magical fable, into a wondrously inventive and unforgettable tale.
 

The Golem by Elie Wiesel

For Centuries, Jews have remembered the Golem, a creature of clay said to have been given life by the mystical incantations of the mysterious Maharal, Rabbi Yehuda Loew, leader of the Jewish community of 16-century Prague... In this beautiful book, Elie Wiesel has collected many of the legends associated with this enigmatic and eluisive figure and retold them as seen throughn the eyes of a wizened gravedigger who claims to have witnessed as a child the numerous miracles that legend attributes to the Golem...


 

Non-Fiction

The Golem Redux: From Prague to Post-Holocaust Fiction by Elizabeth R. Baer

First mentioned in the Book of Psalms in the Hebrew Bible, the golem is a character in an astonishing number of post-Holocaust Jewish-American novels and has served as inspiration for such varied figures as Mary Shelley's monster in her novel Frankenstein, a frightening character in the television series The X-Files, and comic book figures such as Superman and the Hulk. In The Golem Redux: From Prague to Post-Holocaust Fiction, author Elizabeth R. Baer introduces readers to these varied representations of the golem and traces the history of the golem legend across modern pre- and post-Holocaust culture. In five chapters, The Golem Redux examines the different purposes for which the golem has been used in literature and what makes the golem the ultimate text and intertext for modern Jewish writers.

The Golem: A Jewish Legend by Beverly Brodsky

A retelling of the Jewish legend of the golem created by Rabbi Lev to protect the Jews of Prague from the angry mob.


Lest innocent blood be shed: the story of leChambon and how goodness happened there by Philip Hallie

During the most terrible years of World War II, when inhumanity and political insanity held most of the world in their grip and the Nazi domination of Europe seemed irrevocable and unchallenged, a miraculous event took place in a small Protestant town in southern France called Le Chambon. There, quietly, peacefully, and in full view of the Vichy government and a nearby division of the Nazi SS, Le Chambon's villagers and their clergy organized to save thousands of Jewish children and adults from certain death.

Prague: A Cultural and Literary History by Richard D. E. Burton

Located at the very center of Europe, Prague has been on the frontline of international political, intellectual, religious, and cultural conflicts for more than six centuries. Invaded and occupied by the Habsburgs, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Nazis, and then Communist Russia, the city’s identity is shaped by a long experience of foreign domination and a strong sense of martyrdom.

* THE CITY OF ARTISTS AND WRITERS: The Castle and Kafka, Ha_ek and Kundera; music from Smetana to the Plastic People of the Universe; modernism and cubism; political theater and the playwright-president Václav Havel.

* THE CITY OF TYRANNY AND RESISTANCE: Jan Hus and anti-Catholic revolt; subjugation and the rise of Czech nationalism; Germans, Czechs and Jews; "Prague Spring" 1968, Charter 77 and the "Velvet Revolution" of November 1989.

* THE CITY OF MAGIC, MURDER, AND MYTH: Medieval alchemy and astrology; the myth of the Golem, the ghetto and anti-Semitism; living puppets, robots, and a tradition of defenestration.

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