The award-winning duo of Jane Yolen and Barbara Diamond Goldin have created modern midrashim that tell the stories of fourteen Biblical women from Eve to Esther, from Sarah to Hannah, along with eight other female personalities. Each chapter eloquently highlights a different woman. The well, the authors explain, is the place for women to come together to water animals, share news, and make matches. Where the original text is ambiguous, Yolen and Golden provide additional expository information in the form of sidebars. The authors do a superb job of placing each woman in the context of her time. Most important of all, they pose questions on the text and invite the young reader to do the same. For example, “Is using trickery immoral?” and “Why does Sarah laugh?” are just two seminal questions the authors ask the reader to consider.
Israeli artist Val Mintzi’s color illustrations done in gouache add heightened insight into each Torah personality. Yolen and Golden’s interpretations are non-denominational and should find a welcome home in any school, synagogue, or family collection. (Rena Citrin, AJL Book Reviews Feb/Mar 2019).