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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


Romanian: Bucharest, Hasefer, forthcoming

Congratulations to Barabara Harshav for the 2018 PEN Medal for Translation!
The prize is given to a translator whose career has demonstrated a commitment to excellence through the body of their work. Barbara Harshav has been translating works from French, German, Hebrew and Yiddish for over twenty years and has currently published over forty books of translation. Among the many Hebrew authors she has translated: Yoram Kaniuk, Agnon, Yehudit Hendel, Yehuda Amichai and many more.
The Ministry of Culture and Sport announced the names of the winners of the Arik Einstein Veterans Artists Prize.
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The fourth German-Hebrew/Hebrew-German translation workshop April 29 to May 5, 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: Sunday, April 29, 2018 until Saturday, May 5, 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,
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Congratulations to Zeruya Shalev and Shifra Horn for receiving the 2017 Adei Wizo Prize.

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is longlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award
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Yitzchak Mayer's personal website goes live
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MHL - New webzine starting soon!