Folktales of Joha, Jewish Trickster  -     By: Matilda Koen-Sarano
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Folktales of Joha, Jewish Trickster

Jewish Publication Society / Hardcover

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Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 296
Vendor: Jewish Publication Society
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0827607229
ISBN-13: 9780827607224

Publisher's Description

Joha has Janus’s double face: On the one hand, he is innocent and stupid; on the other, a trickster. He is a cheater and is cheated. He sets traps for others and falls into traps himself; he is simpleton and liar, victimizer and victim. But as a literary figure he never dies. The nearly 300 stories in this lovely volume are from Sephardic oral literature and ethnic culture. They were told to Matilda Koen-Sarano in their original language, Judeo-Spanish (Ladino), and documented over 21 years. From 17 countries, including the United States, they come together in this first-ever collection of Joha stories to appear in English. Known in some places as Ladino, Judeo-Spanish is a living remnant of the Spanish spoken by the Spanish Jews at the end of the 15th century. Matilda Koen-Sarano, born to a Sephardic family, has devoted her life to the conservation and revitalization of this language, culture, and heritage. Joha, according to Ladino tradition, is a popular folklore character, one who is conniving yet also beguiling. He plays many roles: He makes us laugh; liberates us from taboos; makes it possible to tell the whole, sometimes painful, truth in a humorous way; and helps us triumph over our enemies through laughter. These stories have entertained generations of Sephardic children and adults and will delight readers of any age.

Editorial Reviews

"This is a wonderful collection of folktales [that] educate by means of example and evoke laughter, reflecting a past rich in history, culture, and traditions."—Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

"Marvelous and funny collection of hundreds of Joha stories assembled by folklorist Matilda Koen-Sarano and felicitously translated by David Herman. . . . Read Matilda Koen-Sarano's laugh-out-loud collection."—Congress Monthly

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