Tali Under The Table

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Have you ever felt as ornery as an ostrich? Or as prickly as a porcupine? In a very special episode, Rita Toomey reads the book Tali Under the Table, written by Tamar Weiss-Gabbay and llustrated by Zoya Cherkassky.
When Tali is angry and refuses to join everyone seated at the table for lunch at Grandma’s, her cousin Shira knows exactly what to do: she joins Tali under the table, and slowly leads her back to the family gathering in this story inspired by Rabbi Nachman of Breslov’s, The Turkey Prince.

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Bake Savta's special apple cake:


2 eggs, whisked

2 apples, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

1 tablespoon of cinnamon powder

I cup of self-raising flower (or 1 cup of regular flour and a teaspoon of baking powder)

2/3 cup of white sugar

½ cup of oil

A pinch of salt



Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the diced apples with the cinnamon and brown sugar.

Whisk the eggs and white sugar together, and add the rest of the ingredients.

Mix the batter well.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until the pie is firm and golden.

Serve hot next to a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Episode Notes

Tali Under the Table is a variation on a special Yiddish folk tale attributed to the great Jewish scholar and teacher, Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. In the original story, a wealthy and prosperous young prince comes to believe that he's a bird (some versions say a turkey and some say the prince believes he's a chicken). Eventually a wise teacher joins the prince, and, through patience, and some creative teaching methods, brings him back to the world of being a person. 

Just like cousin Shira, the teacher in the original story's readiness to meet the young prince at his stage, clear lack of concern for appearing foolish, and his willingness to deal with his own physical discomfort in order to help a young boy all point to the man as a fine dugma (Hebrew for role model or example). The story shows the power of kavod, or respect, when helping someone who is behaving or thinking differently.

Episode Credits

Have I Got a Story For You is a production of PJ Library

Executive producers: Meredith Lewis, Alli Thresher
Director: Alli Thresher
Additional production: Craig Rossein
Website design: Christina Rizer
Audio editing, mixing and mastering: Peter Moore
Score: Peter Moore
Recorded at Palace of Purpose Studios in Malden, MA.
Cover art: Barb Bastian
Script adaptation: Alli Thresher
Story editor: Alan Silberberg
Original book, Tali Under the Table, a Sifriyat Pijama selection, was written by Tamar Weiss-Gabay and translated in to english by Shira Atik.


Narrator, Rita Toomey: Madelaine Ripley
Tali: Wednesday Alice
Shira: Danielle Geist
Savta, Ima: Deirdre Wade
Saba, Cousin: Rich Wentworth
David, Abba: Walter Sickert 
Ensemble: Payton James