Rabbi Zoë Klein Miles serves Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles, California, where she brings her unique blend of innovation, tradition, creativity, and wisdom. She pursued the rabbinate out of a passion for ancient texts, mythology, liturgy, and poetry. Rabbi Klein Miles’ most recent book is the collection of short stories Candle, Feather, Wooden Spoon (CCAR Press, 2023) about which Kirkus Reviews wrote, “Klein presents a collection of original Jewish parables for all ages, told in the tradition of rabbinic legends and folktales. ... Lovely and entertaining folklore and parables that can proudly stand beside others in their tradition.” She is also the author of the novel Drawing in the Dust (Gallery Books, 2009) of which Publishers Weekly wrote, “Insight into the world of biblical excavation in Israel raises Rabbi Klein's debut novel from a Jewish Da Vinci Code to an emotionally rich story of personal and historical discovery.” Drawing in the Dust has been published in five countries. Rabbi Klein Miles’ other books include the children’s story The Goblins of Knottingham: A History of Challah (Apples & Honey, 2017) and The Scroll of Anatiya (Wipf and Stock, 2009). Rabbi Klein Miles’s writing is included in The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, Teen Texts, Holy Ground: A Gathering of Voices on Caring for Creation, The Sacred Exchange: Creating a Jewish Money Ethic, and more. Her poems and prayers are used in houses of prayer around the world.
A collection of original stories by acclaimed author Rabbi Zoë Klein, Candle, Feather, Wooden Spoon invites readers on a magical, mystical journey. With settings both traditional and contemporary, the stories each highlight an essential aspect of living a meaningful Jewish life. Appropriate for all ages, the many tales include "Time Palace," a legend of how the Jewish people created Shabbat; "Yofiel," the story of an angel who keeps revealing the secrets of Torah; "Shalom Bayit," imagining the chuppah as a metaphor for powerful social change; and "Candle, Feather, Wooden Spoon," which reframes these traditional Passover objects as tools for intergenerational healing. Whether you're a rabbi, cantor, or educator--the storytellers of our community--or just a lover of stories, this book is sure to stir your heart and inspire your spirit. Watch the Book Trailer HERE!
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Rabbi Zoë Klein speaks new light into Creation as she weaves her magical tales. You will get lost in her stories and find something surprising and new about Jewish tradition and yourself. ... From the magic of a candle, a feather, and a wooden spoon to the mystical shofar that carries the pain of the world, Rabbi Klein invites us into an enchanted world that entertains and amazes.
--From the foreword by Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, author of God's Paintbrush and In God's Name
In Candle, Feather, Wooden Spoon, Rabbi Zoë Klein offers magical stories filled with wisdom to awaken our hearts, enchant our souls, and open our minds. Mystical sparks infuse the mundane until the whole world begins to shimmer. This book is a blessing you will want to share with friends, children, students, and mentors, a work that will introduce you to new and healing visions of Judaism, self, humanity, and our world.
--Rabbi Naomi Levy, author of Einstein and the Rabbi and To Begin Again
Rarely are we gifted with a glimpse of such expansive imagination that our world opens up and everything suddenly seems possible. These stories are exhilarating and magical, playful and profound, moving and visionary. They are portals into worlds--both breathtakingly new and resonantly familiar--for us, the Jewish people, to inhabit. I will be teaching these stories, reading them to my congregation, and including them in my sermons. And so will every rabbi you know. Mark my words: they're going to change our world.
--Rabbi Rachel Timoner, author of Breath of Life: God as Spirit in Judaism
"Magical" is the only word for Rabbi Zoë Klein's gathering of wise, deep, whimsical stories. In the tradition of the greatest of our rabbinical teachers--who used imagination to engage the mind, heart, and spirit of our people--Rabbi Klein's stories open our eyes, touch our souls, and invite us into a world of enchantment and wonder. This is a book to be cherished for the generations.
--Rabbi Edward Feinstein, author of The Chutzpah Imperative and Tough Questions Jews Ask
Klein presents a collection of original Jewish parables for all ages, told in the tradition of rabbinic legends and folktales… Approachable for adults yet told with children in mind, each story is full of wide-eyed curiosity and earnestness, along with comedy, light scares, and lessons on compassion, empathy, and acceptance of the marginalized or derided.... Lovely and entertaining folklore and parables that can proudly stand beside others in their tradition.
-- Kirkus Reviews Kirkus Reviews (read full review HERE)
The stories in Candle, Feather, Wooden Spoon range from dreamy and delightful to literary and profound, each delivering heaping servings of insight and perspective. You will be returning to it again and again.
--Lori Gottlieb, author of NYT bestseller Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed
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A RICHLY EVOCATIVE AND BOUNDLESS LOVE STORY THAT REVERBERATES FROM BIBLICAL TIMES TO THE MODERN WORLD.
Brilliant archaeologist Page Brookstone has toiled at Israel’s storied battlegrounds of Megiddo for twelve years, yet none of the ancient remnants she has unearthed deliver the life-altering message she craves. Which is why she risks her professional reputation when a young Arab couple begs her to excavate beneath their home. Ibrahim and Naima Barakat claim the spirits of two lovers overwhelm everyone who enters with love and desire. As Page digs, she makes a miraculous discovery—the bones of the deeply troubled prophet Jeremiah locked in an eternal embrace with a mysterious woman. Buried with the entwined skeletons is a collection of scrolls that challenge centuries-old interpretations of the prophet’s story and create a worldwide fervor.
Caught in a forbidden romance of her own, and under siege from religious zealots and relentless critics, Page endangers her life to share the lovers’ story with the world. But in doing so, she discovers she must let go of her own painful past. Called a “zesty debut” by Kirkus Reviews, Zoë Klein’s historically rich novel is a lyrical and unexpected journey as poignant and thought-provoking as the beloved bestsellers The Red Tent and People of the Book. Watch Video about Drawing in the Dust
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“A commanding and illuminating read told by a phenomenal new voice with an obvious old soul…Zoe is an astonishing storyteller as she spellbinds you from the first page and keeps you there until the novel is finished…She will paint pictures in your mind of her scenes that will leave you breathless in their graphic depictions… She gives us amazingly diverse characters that will leave you in awe, some you will grow to love and some you will learn to despise…This is a definite must read.”
—Reading Frenzy. (Full review, click here.)
“Drawing in the Dust is a masterful debut by an author from whom we can wholeheartedly hope to read more.”
—San Diego Jewish World
“Sometimes you need a book that speaks to you. Drawing in the Dust makes you think and feel. When you’re looking for a book that will touch your soul, this is the one to pick up. It is a masterpiece! Now go read it:)” —Readaholic.com
“I went into the book figuring that I would find a great story and found something so full of wonder and color that my brain is still swirling with the beauty of it. Much as a fairy tale leaves frosting and pixie dust floating about the head, DRAWING IN THE DUST leaves warmth and happiness surrounding you like a soft blanket fresh out of the dryer. I am absolutely ecstatic to share this review with you today and hope that it encourages you to pick this book up and get lost within the wonder of its pages…The writing was beautiful; my interest was captured within the first paragraph; the passion was there, seeping into the reader’s soul; the story was original and highly compelling; the characters were well developed, carrying with them an intense depth of emotion; the pace was perfect with the text flowing fluidly throughout, ebbing and rising to continue pulling us on our journey.”
—Journey of Books. CLICK HERE for complete review.
“Occasionally a story comes along which is constantly thought-provoking, as it inspires you to deeply think about your own life and what you believe while the entertainment level remains high. Zoe Klein is a master of images and descriptions, as her vivid portrayal of settings and reactions of the characters pack each moment of DRAWING IN THE DUST with convincing realism…From the instant any of the characters are met in the present, their personalities seem exceedingly genuine and any actions they take seem humanly genuine. Even those individuals who are only known through their written words come across as particularly believable, and make the reader want to truly consider their story is more than fiction. Countless conflicts arise, some religious, others political and many of them only emotional, yet each one is described with enough background to let you know why those affected think as they do in this situation…DRAWING IN THE DUST is a profoundly moving story of emotional growth, as unforeseen discoveries are made and startling answers are exposed.”
“Drawing in the Dust challenges the ideas of relationships between academia and religion, of emotion and analysis, and of personal versus global achievement…Despite the contemporary grittiness of the setting, the elaborate tapestry of character interactions that demonstrates the intermingling of cultures in Israel, and the intricate details of the process and thrill of discovery within archeology, Klein’s novel has a softness and a sweetness to its depictions of lovers’ words and human emotion. An excellent book, Drawing in the Dust demonstrates many levels of achievement that will engage readers who enjoy various styles of writing.” —Vicky Gilpin for FreshFiction.com
“Insight into the world of biblical excavation in Israel raises Rabbi Klein’s debut novel from a Jewish Da Vinci Code to an emotionally rich story of personal and historical discovery…Rabbi Klein’s most vivid passages depict the meditative tedium of digging, the exultation of discovery and the intricate processes of authentication and preservation, while love stories past and present—and a balanced, compassionate view of both Israeli and Arab traditions—add to the book’s pleasures.”
“Talented author Zoe Klein has crafted a must read in Drawing in the Dust…You’ll feel the sun on your body as you work in the dust of the past and present and try to understand the problems of people living in fear in the past and fear in our own times. The people and settings are so real you’ll believe you’ve visited Israel and met new friends.”
—Anne K. Edwards, ReaderToReader.com
“Lyrical, transformative, and unexpected Drawing in the Dust will keep you enthralled in the moment, yet racing to know more.”
—Gina Nahai, best-selling author of Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith
“Archaeology is the most dangerous of sciences, fundamentalism the most insidious of religious beliefs, and fiction the most seductive form of writing. Mix all three together and you have Drawing in the Dust, a marvelous novel that brings historical archaeology alive, and challenges the roots of all western religion. Archaeologists dig up dirt about people’s past—and often their findings change lives, religions, and the entire world. What? You don’t believe archaeology, fiction, and fundamentalism are dangerous? Open the first page of Drawing in the Dust. Zoe Klein will rock your foundations! This is what fiction should be about.”
—Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear, New York Times Best Selling Authors of The Betrayal
“A magically inventive archaeological expedition into love’s psyche. Rabbi Klein’s voice is enormously literate, politically sophisticated, spiritually captivating, and above all, unique.”
—Lawrence Kushner, author of Kabbalah: A Love Story and Invisible Lines of Connection: Sacred Stories of the Ordinary
“Drawing in the Dust is original in every sense of the word: creative, innovative, novel. It is an archaeological adventure that resurrects buried romance. With feeling intellect, the author reveals the secret of the heart.”
—Rabbi Harold Schulweis, author of Conscience: The Duty to Obey and the Duty to Disobey and For Those Who Can’t Believe: Overcoming the Obstacles to Faith
“I was instantly swept up into the culture, traditions, and mystery…It’s so full of magic and passion, two elements that I so enjoy in a good read.”
—Jacki Leach, Borders Books, Gresham, Oregon
“This is fiction, and fiction magically plotted and brought to life by the mastery of Klein with years of storytelling experience. It is never heavy handed. Instead we are lost in a labyrinth of underground tunnels and hidden artifacts and characters that tell us one of those incredibly readable stories that we don’t want to ever put down.” Read full review (pdf)
—Erica Jamieson for Sax Facts
“This book is worthy of a nomination…and win. Loved it.”
—Emma Ashley, Emma Ashley Books
“By turns philosophical, suspenseful, and passionate, this brilliant debut novel—in the bestselling tradition of Anita Diamant’s ‘The Red Tent’—transports readers into a mystical world and takes them on a journey they won’t soon forget.”
“Drawing in the Dust is brilliant! It was hard not to stay up all night to finish it. How can someone just create such a story? It is amazing.”
A group of children band together to defeat the goblins in an original and unique "history" of challah.
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Jewish Book Council Review:
A silly and appealing picture book, this is the story of a classroom filled with children who are plagued daily by three goblins who love to tangle their hair. Finally one day they come up with a way to outwit the goblins and their solution leads to the “invention” of challah. Full of funny names and alliterative text, this would work well as a read-aloud. The full-page illustrations, whimsically created in water-color pastel shades in a style characteristic of the artist’s work in Highlights for Children, have lots of subtle, amusing elements for children to discover when they look at the book on their own. At the end of this bread-centered story, a letter to the children is included by the author, “Rabbi Zoe”, in which she invites them to think about “what gives challah its power” providing some “food for thought” about the beauty of Shabbat.
The Goblins of Knottingham | Jewish Book Council
Written in the high art style of prophetic witness, The Scroll of Anatiya reveals a new kind of biblical heroine who is fiercely passionate and sensual. In this first-person, honest, and vulnerable account of an orphaned, passion-driven disciple of Jeremiah—perhaps a prophetess in her own right—Anatiya reveals herself to be a rare window into an incredible world and a beautiful mind. Out of a century of war, wrath, starvation, and exile, Anatiya’s epic love poem unleashes a timeless theology of love. In this unique work, the contemporary imagination of Rabbi Zoë Klein meshes seamlessly with the world of Jeremiah in an unforgettable story of passion, poetry, and love. Read an excerpt from The Scroll of Anatiya
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“Painstakingly researched, melding seamlessly with the Biblical/historical record, this fictional work is also powerfully envisioned, written, and realized by a woman writer. Rabbi Zoë Klein has put on the skin and soul of a female prophet/scribe in the time of Jeremiah, bringing a fresh voice into the patriarchal story. How significantly this has enriched me! How much I want others to be as astonished as I was!”
—Luci Shaw, poet, author of The Crime of Living Cautiously and Accompanied by Angels
“With the scriptural erudition of the Rabbi she is, and considerable imaginative gifts, Zoë Klein has created in Anatiya a warm, believable companion to an elder Jeremiah whose quiet love reunites the aged prophet with the passion of love and faith that called him from youth to God and renders in their story a powerful tale of divine love incarnate.”
—Sam Portaro, Episcopal priest & author, Brightest & Best: A Companion to Lesser Feasts & Fasts, Crossing the Jordan, and Sheer Christianity
“Redolent in metaphor and spirit, aching with love both earthly and heavenly, The Scroll of Anatiya offers the reader the imagined journey of a young woman disciple of Jeremiah, a journey of a woman’s body and spirit. The text draws deeply from the Hebrew Scriptures, while also bringing to speech the voice of a young woman, whose writing ‘resonates off the walls.’ I recommend reading the text slowly, allowing yourself to savor the language and the imagery, indeed to savor the premise of the scroll.”
—Mary C. Earle, author of The Desert Mothers: Spiritual Practices from Women of the Wilderness and Days of Grace: Meditations and Practices for Living with Illness