Kabbalah book review: Teaching Kabbalah to kids

'Travels with Sushi in the Land of the Mind' introduces children to quantum physics and classic morality through a journey to another universe.

Travels with Sushi in the Land of the Mind (photo credit: Courtesy)
Travels with Sushi in the Land of the Mind
(photo credit: Courtesy)
‘Travels with Sushi in the Land of the Mind’ was published in October 2019 and introduces children to quantum physics and classic morality through a journey to another universe. The book is based on stories that author Eduard Shyfrin has told to his grandchildren, and follows the adventures of young Aaron and Stella, siblings who are transported to the Land of the Mind, a fantasy kingdom based on mathematical principles and quantum physics. The plot parallels numerous stories found in the Bible and is intended for children ages twelve and up. 
Throughout the book, ‘Travels with Sushi’ introduces children to positive values such as hope and courage and helps them deal with fear, indifference, and pride. In Shyfrin’s view, the best way to teach children morals and good character traits is by wrapping them in an exciting story. “We don’t know what our children will become,” he says. “Our duty is to give them some direction in life – to give them a wider view of life, to introduce them to ideas of God, of science and knowledge, of good moral qualities, and then they will be better equipped to find their way in life.” 
Travels with Sushi has enjoyed favorable reviews since its publication, and recently received the Independent Press 2020 Distinguished Favorite award.
Library KSP Blogspot wrote, “Travels with Sushi in the Land of the Mind by Eduard Shyfrin was a little like being in The Matrix. While not usually a fan of fantasy, I was drawn into the story. Aaron and Stella enjoy spending summers at their grandparents' house by the seashore (or "Down the Shore," as we say in New Jersey). They play on the beach, and then the family goes to eat at their favorite sushi restaurant, where Mr. and Mrs. Ekaku, a polite Japanese couple, serve the sushi. They come to the table and ask Stella and Aaron, salmon sushi connoisseurs, to try a new delicacy that the chef created. It is the most delicious sushi they have ever tasted: "a thousand flavors seemed to burst from within the tiny golden parcels." They close their eyes to fully focus on enjoying the sushi, and when they open them....they are in the Mushi Land of the Mind, where Salmon Mushi, the lead of the Mushi tribe, enlists their help. They must find the Supreme Ruler's Book in a cave on Memory Mountain and return it to the people, which will destroy the power of the Black Queen.
What is fascinating about this book, besides the journey/quest of the children, is how Jewish elements are interwoven into the story. The Supreme Ruler is, well, the Supreme Ruler, and there are snippets of Jewish history, quotes from the Mishnah and the Talmud, a discussion of the Sefirot, a lesson in Middos, and a certain tribe that "does not eat shrimp sushi."
Adding another layer, are the principles of physics and The Golden Ratio, explained in terms clear and simple enough for young readers. Albert Einstein makes an appearance to help the kids get through a wormhole.
Tomislav Tomic's amazing illustrations made the book that much more enjoyable. The detailed black and white drawings complemented the text perfectly.
If you enjoy fantasy, or if you want to expand your horizons and read something you wouldn't normally read, this is a great choice.
Shilo Musings Blogspot wrote, “I have grandchildren who are more talented and knowledgeable about sciences than me, so I had an ulterior motive for taking the book. As soon as I finish writing this book review, I'm going to find a way to pass it to them.
To my great enjoyment and utter surprise, I discovered that Travels with Sushi is much, much more than a children's "science book." It's a fable about the Jewish People, our enemies and the Bible. 
Aaron and Stella, the brother-sister pair are the main characters. They love and eat sushi, but they don't eat it with shrimp. Hmm what does that make you think of? This Aaron, like the biblical one, partners up with a sibling. But instead of brother Moses, he works with sister Stella. Could the name Stella come from the biblical Esther? Maybe.
Travels with Sushi includes lots of magic, which should attract the Harry Potter fans. Aaron and Stella end up in a mysterious frightening, dangerous world after eating special sushi. There's a Supreme Ruler and a Book and the "good guys" being attacked; BTW they don't eat shrimp. Aaron and Stella must rescue them before their memories are stolen.
I must say that I truly enjoyed reading  Travels with Sushi. For those of us attracted to character and plot, the physics and math don't stand out. It's suitable for older children, precocious younger readers and makes a great book to read to your children, too. 
Mario Routi, bestselling author, says, “Alice in Wonderland meets Narnia and science! A very clever outstanding page-turning fantasy, with interesting characters and many unexpected surprises. Eduard Shyfrin, with his powerful writing, has managed to combine mysticism and fairy-tale with quantum physics, mathematics and philosophy, in a wonderful atmospheric children story, creating for his readers a brilliant adventurous ride with deeper meanings and insights.” 
Finally, National Geographic for Kids says,
“This was an intriguing book and I found every page a new mystery. I recommend it to older readers for its thrill and excitement and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.”
To purchase Eduard Shyfrin’s book ‘From Infinity to Man: The Fundamental Ideas of Kabbalah Within the Framework of Information Theory and Quantum Physics’ please click here.   

To purchase Eduard Shyfrin’s book ‘Travels with Sushi in the Land of the Mind’ please click here.
This article is part of a collaboration for the Kabbalat Shabbat Project with Eduard Shyfrin.