il portale dell'ebraismo italiano

From Bereshit to Devarim, a series of books explains the Torah to kids

Almost 700 pages full of information, events, and stimuli. Over 200 illustrations created to intrigue and fascinate young readers even more. These are the numbers, eloquent in themselves, that introduce us to the world of “My Torah” series, the project aimed at bringing the Hebrew Bible to children by teachers Anna Coen and Mirna Dell’Arriccia on behalf of the Union of the Italian Jewish Communities.
This commitment, which unfolded over several years, has now come to an end with the publication of the last of the five books: Devarìm / Deuteronomy.
Still fresh off the press, the book, realized also through a strategic collaboration with the publisher Giuntina, was presented last week at the UCEI Bibliographic Center under the coordination of Odelia Liberanome. “This is a team effort that put to use different skills. UCEI has always believed in the value of such a project”, pointed out UCEI President Noemi Di Segni. “The goal – she added – is to be strong in one’s own identity: knowing how to draw from ancient texts and derive from them the necessary answers to deal with the many challenges and efforts of the present”.
As UCEI Councilor for Education Livia Ottolenghi remarked “UCEI invested people and knowledge” in this project which now presents itself as “a high-quality product, extremely accurate also with regard to pedagogical tools”. This thanks specifically to the authors, which are “very important figures in Jewish education”.
Mirna Dell’Arriccia recalled how it all started: “I felt the need to write parashots for children. Following a meeting with Anna Coen, during a Shabbat at the Temple in via Balbo, the idea came to structure an actual project. At first, we addressed Rabbi Benedetto Carucci Viterbi, who enthusiastically encouraged us to move forward. Then we contacted Rabbi Roberto Della Rocca. Their decisive encouragement led us to UCEI, where our contact person was Odelia Liberanome. Thanks for the guidance also goes to two other rabbis: Rav Gadi Piperno and Rav Amedeo Spagnoletto”.
“A product like My Torah was missing in Jewish Italy,” explained Anna Coen. “It was needed especially in the classroom, where we naturally talked about the weekly parashah but without adequate supporting material”. Devarim represents the conclusion of a commitment of many years: “It is a special and particular book, a sort of compendium of the previous four. The challenge was to convey this peculiarity without being heavy”. The authors are aware that a circle is now closing, but a new beginning is on the horizon. As they said, “we never stop studying the Torah, but we always start all over again: a stimulus for us too”.
This hope is also that of Director of UCEI Training and Culture area Rabbi Della Rocca. “We must be ready to start over, not only in work but also in study”. The Rabbi reminded that once “one used to study on austere books”. My Torah, therefore, represents a turning point, that of “a colorful book and at the same time with broad horizons”. For Italian Judaism “it is an important recognition, with all the numbers to be exported also abroad”.
Appreciation was expressed also by Rabbi Roberto Colombo. “This is a project carried out with a big heart” and scrupulous attention to every detail, he remarked. “It is the right fear that every teacher should have. Books written with this constructive fear are those that, unlike others, generally continue to live”.

Above, the cover of the book dedicated to Devarim/Deuteronomy, the last of the series My Torah.