The Time Tunnel: The Dreyfus Affair

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The Time Tunnel book coverWhat the Book is About:

The Time Tunnel books are a popular Israeli Magic Tree House-style series about ten year-old friends Dan and Sharon who travel back in time to periods in Israeli and Jewish history. In this English edition, created just for PJ Our Way, Sharon and Dan (and Dan’s older brother Eran) meet Alfred Dreyfus in a French prison, just as he is wrongfully convicted of treason for spying against France. They discover how the rampant anti-Semitism of the time caused his arrest and they attend the shocking ceremony in which Alfred Dreyfus is stripped of his rank before a jeering mob.  When they see Theodore Herzl among the crowd, they finally understand how this incident inspired Herzl to propose the creation of a Jewish homeland. Kids will be fascinated as they view history through Dan and Sharon’s contemporary eyes; this second translated volume can be enjoyed independently of its prequel, The Time Tunnel: Jerusalem Under Siege.

Jewish Content and Values

  • Dan and Sharon are ten-year-old Israeli kids who live in Ramot, a neighborhood in Jerusalem. In the story, they recite the first verse of the Shema (Jewish prayer affirming God’s oneness) in order to prove to Dreyfus that they are Jewish. 
  • Blatant anti-Semitism played a major role in the false accusation and conviction of General Alfred Dreyfus.  
  • Theodore Herzl, an Austrian journalist who witnessed the rabid crowd at Dreyfus’ demotion, was the father of Zionism, the nationalist movement that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish state in Israel, the Jewish historic homeland. Dreyfus’ trial helped Herzl understand that Jews must have a state of their own to be free of religious persecution.  

Positive Role Models

  • Sharon and Dan are the ten-year-old heroes of The Time Tunnel series. In this second volume, they show empathy for the imprisoned Dreyfus and encourage him to remain true to his honor. 
  • Alfred Dreyfus shows courage and steadfastness by withstanding the temptation to perjure himself and escape with a lighter sentence.  

Content Advisory

Although there are no scary or violent scenes in this book, some children may feel uncomfortable while reading the shockingly virulent anti-Semitic remarks made by the crowd at Alfred Dreyfus’ demotion ceremony.   

Talk it Over

Captain Dreyfus refused to lie and confess to being a spy, even though a confession could have gotten him out of prison and allowed him to live with his family. He spent nearly five years in jail, and it took over ten years until the truth finally prevailed and his good name was cleared. Do you think that it was worth it? 

More for You

France is home to Europe’s largest Jewish population, but the rising tide of anti-Semitism in recent years has left many of France’s half a million Jews living in an atmosphere fraught with tension.  Recent deadly terrorist attacks targeting a Jewish school and kosher supermarket have inspired a dramatic increase in French immigration to Israel. France now holds the top spot as Israel’s biggest source for new immigrants.  

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