An actual Torah which survived the Holocaust by being wrapped around the torso of a refugee would have quite a story to tell. What if that Torah ended up in China? Then the story would be even more interesting! Briana London took that actual historical framework and turned it into a historical fiction novel that spans three continents and two very distinct cultures.
Shanghai Torah: yuanfen (2018) starts off as a typical Jewish Holocaust tale. When the Rabbi’s family receives visas to emigrate to Japan the story gripped my attention and held it right to the end. The best part of the book was when Moshe the scribe is living in the home of a Master Chinese Poet and his communist leaning son. Adult parent/child relationships and tradition vs. change are themes woven into the tales of both the Jewish and Chinese families.
This book is a winner for book groups. I think I’ll plan an art night around it. Now I just need to find some folks who want to read the book then try their hand at Hebrew and Chinese calligraph