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The Secret Shofar of Barcelona

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  16 ratings  ·  4 reviews
Musician Don Fernando longs to hear the sounds of the shofar on the High Holidays, but, like the other secret Jews in Inquisition Spain, he must hide his religion. But when he is asked to perform a symphony celebrating the new world, he and his son Rafael devise a daring plan to usher in the Jewish New Year right in plain sight of the Spanish nobility!
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by Kar-Ben Publishing (first published 2009)
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Kate Hastings
Grades 1-3. In 1492 Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain decreed that everyone is Spain must be Catholic. All other faiths were required to convert or leave the country.

In this legend (there is no historical record), Rafael is a Jewish musician in hiding. Traditionally the shofar (a type of horn) is blown to celebrate the new year. Because of his status as a well-loved musician, Rafael came up with a plan to have a concert on the Jewish new year. And there on stage, in front of everyone--
Not too many books at this age do a great job of describing the Inquisition and the fight against it. This one does a reasonable job. It brings the story of a conductor and his son the reader with simple language and expressive illustration, revealing further back story at the beginning and end of the book. Overall, a very satisfying read.
Based on legend, so not historical fiction, but.... A compelling story of a composer and his son who must hide their Jewish religious beliefs from the Inquisition. They choose to boldly perform using a Jewish shofar as part of a musical program, "secretly" marking a Jewish celebration in plain sight.
An imaginative story of resistance to injustice and holding onto one's self, _The Secret Shofar of Barcelona_ is a lovingly illustrated and instructive tale.
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