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119 pages, Paperback
First published December 3, 2012
I am the author of this book and I wanted to share a few comments about its origins.
As a storyteller, I wanted to tie together various Jewish jokes and stories into a larger setting and decided to set them in Chelm, the traditional Jewish Eastern-European setting for stories of fools and their mistaken reasoning. I wanted to move the fools of Chelm to America, and in particular to my home state of New York, so I searched for a "Chelm" in New York using Google Maps and Mapquest. No luck. I tried an Anglicized spelling, "Helm," and found Helm's Pond in New York State's Adirondack Mountains. I moved the Jews of Chelm to Chelm's Pond and incorporated my long-term love of Adirondack tall tales into the stories. I tried to create a climactic tall tale that would reveal the greatest of our wishes and yet remain true to the Chelm and tall-tale genres. Let me know if I succeeded.