Yaffa Ganz is the author of over 40 works, including “Sand and Stars,” “The Jewish Fact Finder,” five “Savta Simcha” books, and, most recently, a collection of poetry called, “Wheat, Wine & Honey.”
What books are currently on your night stand?
Rabbi Shabtai Sabato’s Va’tisaeini Ruach…Hidden Lights in Parashat Hashavua.
What’s the best book on Judaism you’ve ever read?
That’s a hard one to answer. Rabbi Akiva Tatz’s Living Inspired, Rabbi Emanuel Feldman’s Tales Out of Shul, Aryeh Kaplan’s books, Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz’s books. I could go on and on and on. There is no “best” book!
What kind of reader were you as a child?
A prodigious kind!
Your favorite books and authors?
Louis Mae Alcott and all the kids’ classics. Plus any other book I could get my hands on. I went through all the shelves in the local library until they allowed me to take books from the adult section.
If you had to name one book that made you who you are today, what would it be?
If you could require Jewish leaders to read one book, what would it be?
All those “best books on Judaism” mentioned above.
Of all the books you’ve written, which is your favorite or the one you take most pride in?
Sand and Stars: A Jewish Journey Through Time. It’s the longest and it took the most research. It’s a two-volume, easy-to-read history of the Jewish people for kids – from the destruction of the second Beit HaMikdash until approximately 1980.
Who are your favorite authors of Jewish children’s books?
The very first Jewish author I ever came across was Sadie Weilerstein. She wrote the K’tonton series and What the Moon Brought some time in the 1930-40’s. These were the only Jewish books I ever came across when I was a child. To this day I treasure my dog-eared copies.
How about children’s books in general? Any favorites?
The list is long, but Anne of Green Gables and all the other books by L.M. Montgomery, which I only discovered as an adult but I read through every one of them anyway. All the Dr. Doolittle books. They are gems. All the… all the… all the…. The list is unending!
And if you’d like to ask which adult books I relax with, the answer is James Michener books, Agatha Christie books, and… hold your hat… Maeve Binchy books. Nice, clean, shmoozy, relaxing books about nice, clean, shmoozy people!
What books might people be surprised to find on your bookshelves?
What books are you embarrassed not to have read yet?
Many. Mostly newer literature. On the other hand, I’ve read many books that other people should have read but didn’t, so why be embarrassed?
What do you plan to read next?
Another Maeve Binchy book, if I can find the time to relax!