“The Bronze Bow”: A Critical Website

created by parents from Davidson Middle School, San Rafael, CA


Note: To read and download pdf files see below


The Bronze Bow: Frequently Asked Questions (last updated12/3/06)


UPDATE 10/07: At its meeting on 12/11/06, three out of the five members of the San Rafael School Board stated that "The Bronze Bow" should be removed from the curriculum. Although no vote was taken, the board directed the district to form a committee of parents, teachers, and clergy to study the matter and make recommendations on alternatives. When those alternatives are presented, the board intends to act on them. In February '07 Ed Colucci, Principal at Davidson decided to discontinue use of "The Bronze Bow" at Davidson. Though as of 10/07 this issue has still not been formally resolved, it appears that the book will not be used in San Rafael curriculum any more.

Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to get to this conclusion. People from every part of the community spoke up, and they were heard. We especially want to thank the leaders of the Marin Interfaith Council for their support, and all the School Board members who took substantial time to meet with us personally and take our concerns seriously. They truly acted as public servents. One school board member went so far as to say that this is exactly what democracy is all about. We agree.


For more information about the meeting and what led up to it, see articles in the:

Marin Independent-Journal, Pacific Sun


Statements and Letters from Parents:


Letters of Support (Read these if nothing else):


(Rodef Sholom and Kol Shofar and are by far the largest Jewish Congregations in Marin County)

State Guidelines

Related Documents:


(Lists passages that reinforce controversial religious themes in the book)

Is This Book Recommended by the State (Yes) and Does it Matter?

"The Bronze Bow" is not on the state's current list of "Recommended Literature", a list created by a panel of librarians and teachers. However, it was on a 1993 list of "Recommended Literature for History-Social Sciences", and the State continues to recommend books from older lists. These lists are periodically updated primarily to introduce recent literature, thus "The Bronze Bow" is still recommended. However, it is important to note that the State has no mechanism to ever “un-recommend” a book. If we successfully convinced every district in California to remove this book from the curriculum it would remain "recommended". So how much weight should we give this ?

First, a "recommendation" by librarians and teachers is not the same as formal state "approval". “Approval” can only happen at a district level. The State Recommended Lists are meant to bring attention to well written books so that they can be further evaluated at a district level for content and appropriateness to community values, educational objectives and legal requirements.

The State fully expects that even previously “approved” books may come up for re-consideration at a district level and doesn't expect “recommended” status to interfere with that. We have no idea whether any of the issues we've raised were looked at when "The Bronze Bow" was originally recommended in 1993 or approved by the San Rafael District in 1998. If they weren't, isn't that a good reason to re-evaluate the book today?


Additional Web Sites:



The Bronze Bow Parent Group (Davidson Middle School, San Rafael, CA):

Leonard Levy

Armando Quintero 

Margaret Perlstein

Alan Packer 

Tom Allen 

Peter Fisher  

to email us : contact@bronzebow.info or bronzebow@earthlink.net  (we may not be able to answer all email)


The Contest:

Anyone who can demonstrate that they have read every word on this long-winded website wins a well deserved coupon for a free coffee drink at Peet's.

If you are under 15 it's a cone at Double Rainbow. We warn you though there may be a stringent oral exam.

Contest is limited to the first 20 winners.

Applicants must be from families currently enrolled in San Rafael schools and over the age of 11. Parental permission required.


Note:  Many of these links are “pdf” files.

To download them to your desktop just hit the save button in your pdf viewer menu.

You can download free Acrobat Reader software at: