Leaves from the Garden of Eden:

One Hundred Classic Jewish Tales

Edited by Howard Schwartz 

A landmark collection of Jewish fairy tales, folk tales, supernatural tales, and mystical tales, dating back to the first century, from over twenty countries 

In Leaves from the Garden of Eden, Howard Schwartz, a three-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award, has gathered together one hundred of the most astonishing and luminous stories from Jewish folk tradition.

         Just as Schwartz’s award-winning book Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism collected the essential myths of Jewish tradition, Leaves from the Garden of Eden collects one hundred essential Jewish tales. As imaginative as the Arabian Nights, these stories invoke enchanted worlds, demonic realms, and mystical experiences. The four most popular types of Jewish tales are gathered here--fairy tales, folktales, supernatural tales, and mystical tales—taking readers on heavenly journeys, lifelong quests, and descents to the underworld. King David is still alive in the City of Luz, which the Angel of Death cannot enter, and somewhere deep in the forest a mysterious cottage contains the candle of your soul. In these stories, a bride who is not careful may end up marrying a demon, while the charm sewn into a dress may drive a pious woman to lascivious behavior. There is a dybbuk lurking in a well, a book that comes to life, and a world where Lilith, the Queen of Demons, seduces the unsuspecting. Here too are Jewish versions of many of the best-known tales, including “Cinderella,” “Snow White,” and “Rapunzel.”  Schwartz’s retelling of one of these stories, “The Finger,” inspired Tim Burton's film Corpse Bride.

      With its broad selection from written and oral sources, Leaves from the Garden of Eden is a landmark collection, representing the full range of Jewish folklore, from the Talmud to the present. It is a must-read for everyone who loves fiction and an ideal holiday gift.  

Howard Schwartz is Professor of English at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He is the editor of four important collections of Jewish folklore: Elijah’s Violin & Other Jewish Fairy Tales, Miriam’s Tambourine: Jewish Folktales from Around the World, Lilith’s Cave: Jewish Tales of the Supernatural, and Gabriel’s Palace: Jewish Mystical Tales. He is also the author of Reimagining the Bible: The Storytelling of the Rabbis and Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism, which won the National Jewish Book Award in 2005.