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“Chicken soup for the Jewish soul”

Though it’s hard to believe, the Jewish addition to the Chicken Soup series—Chicken Soup for the Jewish Soul (edited by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins, Health Communications, $12.95)—has only just hit bookstores. Ironic, considering that the chicken soup as- medicine metaphor comes straight out of Jewish-American culture. Included in the anthology arc short stories by some well-known Jewish women (such as Yaffa Eliach and Bel Kaufman) and some very well-known Jewish women (Golda Meir, Anne Frank).

While all of these stories seem engineered to elicit a tear or two, there is one story, by Rachel Naomi Remen, that really hits home. In “The Presence of God,” a young Remen cannot understand her grandfathers claim that God is present when ten men gather in a minyan, but remains absent at a gathering of ten women. In the month before he dies, however, he tells his granddaughter that she is a minyan, all by herself Someone pass me a Kleenex