Home  \  Authors  \  Authors  \  Nava Semel  \ 

Our Candles

Nava Semel
AGE: 7-10

In little Sheindel’s eyes, the world was full of beauty. She loved picking flowers, skating in her wooden skates on the frozen river in winter, gazing at the clouds changing their shapes in the sky and imagining them to be whatever she wanted. Sheindel and her family lived in a little village in Europe, one of the places that the Jews called a shtetl in Yiddish. For hours on end she would watch her father the blacksmith at work, as he made different tools out of molten metal that looked like gold to her, but was actually just plain brass. One day he made a pair of candlesticks that weren’t a success and came out all crooked and wrong. He was disappointed and wanted to scrap them, but Sheindel stopped him and said that she thought they were lovely. She lit candles in them every Sabbath eve, and never parted from them, even when she grew up, got married and had a daughter named Rochele. The candles in the crooked candlesticks lit up the little cradle and Sheindel hoped that her daughter would also learn to like things with flaws. Then there came days of darkness and evil. Sheindel’s husband was shot dead; the only synagogue in the village was burned down, and the Jews were driven away, across the frozen river, and herded together into a ghetto. There were no candles to light in the ghetto, but Sheindel and Rochele kept on blessing the light although darkness covered the earth.

Nava Semel’s story is one of memory and continuity and the need to seek out beauty in a world where there is so much ugliness. Sheindel’s great-granddaughter,  Nava, didn’t know her, but the candlesticks survived and now, when Nava lights them and prays that the darkness won’t return, she imagines the blacksmith’s little girl in the shtetl waving her little hand at her. 


Illustrations: Gilad Seliktar

Title Sheindel's Candles
Author’s Last Name Semel
Author's First Name Nava
Language(s) Hebrew
Genre children
Publisher (Hebrew) Yedioth Ahronoth
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2018
No. Pages 32
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Pamotim Shelanu
Representation Represented by ITHL



"An original, extraordinary book" The Brenner prize committee
Congratulations to Noga Albalach, winner of the 2018 Brenner prize for her book "The Old Man (Farewell)".
Residencies in Vienna and Salzburg
In co-operation with KulturKontakt Austria, the Austrian Federal Chancellery offers 50 residencies in Vienna and Salzburg for the year 2019. Applications can be submitted for literature, literature for children and young adults and literary translations. Please note the deadline of September 30th, 2018.
Call for applications English speakers: Stay culture in Paris (deadline: June 12th, 2018)
Details in the attached link
Congratulations to Sami Berdugo and Shoham Smith, recipients of the 2018 Bialik Prize, one of the most prestigious literary prizes in Israel!

The Ministry of Culture and Sport announced the names of the winners of the Arik Einstein Veterans Artists Prize.
A prize of 50,000 NIS was given to each of the 21 artists who worked and are still working to promote Israeli culture in various fields -Music, dance, theater, plastic arts, cinema and literature. In the literature category the winners were Ronny Someck, Jacob Buchan and Shlomit Cohen-Assif. Also, Anat Masiach is among the recipient of the prize for debut literary works. Congratulations!
The fourth German-Hebrew/Hebrew-German translation workshop November 4th to 10th, 2018 Beit Ben-Yehuda, Jerusalem
After workshops in Berlin, Jerusalem and Straelen, the workshop will return to Jerusalem this spring. This workshop will focus on the participants translations. These are unfinished translations that have not yet been published. These will be sent to all participants. The workshop is open to 10 participants and is intended for literary translators with experience and publications. Workshop facilitators: Anne Birkenhauer and Gadi Goldberg Prerequisites: At least one published translation Duration: November 4th 2018 until November 10th, 2018 Location: Beit Ben-Yehuda, 28 Ein Gedi St., 93383 Jerusalem Participation fee: Participation (Accommodation and meals) is free of charge. Travel / flight expenses will be refunded. For more details and for the documents required for submitting application: Anne Birkenhauer, and Gadi Goldberg,
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is one of the 100 notable books of 2017 of the "New York Times".

MHL - New webzine starting soon!