As a folktale anthology, this book presents not just the "voice of the people," but also the voices of many people—the narrators who tell the tales and thereby preserve, transmit and re-create the narratives that make up the Jewish folk tradition. Without them this book would not have come into being, and I would like to express to them my deepest gratitude and appreciation.
The transition from oral to written texts could be accomplished only through a labor of love. In transcribing these stories, the collectors have extended the narrators' audience beyond immediate family and community to readers worldwide. I am indebted to them for making these tales available, and I thank them for their conscientious effort to render the oral tales accurately. And my gratitude goes as well to Lenn Schramm, who translated them from the Hebrew.
All these tales are now on deposit at the Israel Folktale Archives Named in Honor of Dov Noy (IFA) at the University of Haifa. The archives' academic head, Haya Bar-Itzhak, and the archivists Edna Heichal and Idit Pintel-Ginsberg extended invaluable assistance to me throughout the preparation of these volumes. No question was too trivial or too complex for them, and they responded to my seemingly endless queries with patience and expediency.
The primary research required for this anthology could not have been carried out without excellent libraries and the assistance of their librarians. I was fortunate to have access to the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library and to the library of the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, both at the University of Pennsylvania. Their extensive holdings in folklore and Jewish studies facilitated the search for books and articles, old and new alike. I would like to thank the librarians who helped me, day in and day out, in my research: Aviva Astrinsky and Arthur Kiron, the former and the current directors, respectively, of the Center for Advanced Judaic Studies' library, and the librarians Josef Gulka, Seth Jerchower, and Judith Leifer. In the Van Pelt-Dietrich library, the folklorist-librarian David Azzolina and John Pollack of the Rare Books and Manuscript Library were most helpful, and Lee Pugh, the head of the Interlibrary Loan Services, and