The Way Meat Loves Salt: A Cinderella Tale from the Jewish Tradition Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-09-10 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 9 user ratings

"In this Jewish Cinderella tale, a man has three daughters who he loves. When he asks how much they love him, the two oldest compare their love to jewels, but his youngest (and favorite) says she loves him the way meat loves salt. He doesn't understand and throws her out, where she is forced to become a beggar and live with a kind rabbi's family far from home. She uses a magic stick she received to make a beautiful dress for herself to attend a wedding and the rabbi's son falls in love with her. This book incorporated Jewish traditions into a traditional fairy tale well, and ending with the girl getting back at her father by showing her what meat without salt actually tastes like. " said.

"What an enjoyable story! Nina Jaffe holds true to the typical Yiddish Folklore style. I would use this book as a study with other folklore both Jewish or not. In fact, I think it would be interesting to read different types of cultural lore and compare and contrast the similarities and differences.

Also, this story would lend itself to practicing predictions for young kids. The story comes full circle very quickly and can be used to find direct text references for what happens like at the end of the story when Mireleh noticed that a "visiting Rabbi" was at the wedding. This is a perfect place to point out to the kids and ask questions like, who do we know is a Rabbi in this story?
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"In this story, we meet a family living in Poland. The family consists of a rabbi, his wife, and his 3 daughters. One day when he asks his daughters how much they love him, his youngest daughter replies, "as much as meat loves salt." The rabbi is very offended by this and drives her away from the house, telling her to never return again. The story continues and Mireleh finds a rabbi who allows her to live in the attic of the home he shares with his wife and son. The traditional Cinderella element arrives here, when Mireleh gets dressed up and attends a wedding that the family doesn't allow her to go to. Being so beautiful, she's gazed at longingly by the rabbi's son. The story continues with the search for the woman who owns the missing shoe and ends happily ever after, of course! The father does appear in the end, only to realize that meat really does need salt; and he was wrong to banish his daughter after all! " said.

"I liked this version of Cinderella. The father of three daughters wanted to know how much they loved him. Two daughters compared their love for him to jewels and material things. The other daughter told him she love him like meat loves salt. The father was apparently offended by that and threw her out of the house. She had to fend for herself on the streets and became a beggar. She ended up marrying a prince. I thought that her response to her dad, "I love you the way meat loves salt" was appropriate. I dont think she was trying to be funny at all. Her answer was straight to the point. The lesson in the story is you can show your love for someone other than giving them material things. I would use this book with students 3-6. After reading them the story you can pose questions such as what are some ways you can show you love someone, or do you think showing your love for someone should be through material things only. Nice illustrations." said.

"The author wrote that she first encountered this Jewish version of the Cinderella tale in the classic collection "Yiddish Folktales." I was interested to see that the author's grandmother grew up in Bialystok, Poland, speaking Polish and Russian. My grandma was born in Bialystok too. She was a gifted storyteller. I have many treasured memories of sitting curled up in her lap listening to her weave adventures. As I read through my other Cinderella themed books I discovered the book, "Moss Gown," by William H. Hooks. It is the same story as "The Way Meat Loves Salt," except it takes place in the deep South of the United States and not in Eastern Europe. I was very excited to make that discovery and realized that would be something very exciting for students to discover as well. I would definitely include both of these books in a "Cinderella Collection" in an intermediate classroom. Both books could be read alouds for younger students." said.

"This is a wonderful take on the Cinderella tradition, which is made all the more wonderful by the fact that it doesn't have anything to do with princesses.

Coming from the Jewish tradition, this book is provides ample chances for discussing with your children the Jewish faith, while also including a few of the classic details of Cinderella that our kids love so much. It is written in such a way that you don't need to completely understand Judaism to understand the story, but the story will still open a dialogue between you and your children regarding the things that may be new.

What really touches me about this story is that it isn't the traditional boy saves girl themed fairy tale that permeates our culture. Instead, this story focuses on the importance of a strong family structure and valuing the gifts our family brings us. The story ends with a touching quote that feels ever more satisfying than the traditional "Happily Ever After." Jaffe quotes: “And so the story ended, like honey from a cup, their happiness brimmed over, we’ll sip each droplet up..”
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The Way Meat Loves Salt written by Nina Jaffe and illustrated by Louise August is a story that tells a Jewish version of Cinderella. In this version of Cinderella “the author/illustrator team invites young readers to consider what love consists of and how it grows”( Botelho and Rudman,p. 235.) The Way Meat Loves Salt combines the traditional version of Cinderella and the Jewish culture. The Jewish version of the tale comes from the story "How Much Do You Love Me?" from the classic collection "Yiddish Folktales". This Jewish Cinderella story is filled with words of wisdom "I love you like meat loves salt.", and questions like what “ is true love?” The words and the music of the Mosel Tov song creates a unique and happy ending to The Way Meat Loves Salt. Young children should be exposed to different and unique cultural renditions of the classic Cinderella story. They provide wonderful insights into the diverse and rich cultural traditions of various countries and cultures around the world.
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"“The Way Meat Loves Salt: A Cinderella Tale from the Jewish Tradition” focuses on a character named Mireleh, a beloved daughter, who is nonetheless driven away from home by her father, a rabbi, because he fears she does not love him enough. She then finds another rabbi’s family that takes her in. The story includes a wedding rather than a ball, a magic stick given by Elijah the Prophet rather than a fairy godmother, the rabbi’s son rather than a prince, and a satin slipper rather than a glass one. The story also includes numerous elements from Jewish culture: rabbis, hallah, the Sabbath, a synagogue, badkhn, huppah, and cries of “Mazel tov!”

There are many versions of the Cinderella story throughout the world with references to many different cultures. “The Way Meat Loves Salt” is a special one because of how closely tied the story and the Jewish religion and culture are. The story is classic and readers will enjoy this particular spin on it, but the book also is educational about Jewish culture, and readers can learn a lot if they aren’t already familiar with Jewish customs and terms. Plus, Jewish readers will be glad to see themselves represented in literature.

This book would be excellent for 1st through 4th grade and perfect for story times in class or at a library. It also could be used with older students doing units on fairy tales or other cultures.

The oil paint illustrations by Louise August are colorful and feature old fashioned, traditional Jewish clothing, complete with yarmulkes for the men. In the glut of Cinderella stories that have been published, quality picture books like this one rise to the top.
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