The reader travels back to the year 70 of the Common Era to the city of Jerusalem, burning at the hands of Roman soldiers, and must decide whether to fight or flee--the first of many decisions throughout the book, all concerned with real events in Jewish history.
Now, forget most of what I wrote in the previous paragraph. There are no real characters in the book, if we discount the historical figures, such as sages and rabbis. This book is a "Do/choose-your-own-adventure style book." For those of you who are not familiar with this style: every page is a vignette size entry, that stands on its own. They describe an event, tell a story, or pose a moral dilemma. At the end of the page the reader can choose between 2-3 options what to do, depending on the temperament and understanding of the text read. This is a great tool to teach decision making, analytical thinking, and dealing with potential consequences. As the whole book is written in second person singular ("you") if read correctly it becomes rather personal book. YOU make the choices and end up living with them.
(My only aversion wit the book is that about third of the possible paths include Jesus and Christianity one way or another. I am not sure whether that proportion is accurate for 1st/2nd century life. I thought that at that point in history the new religion was not as widespread as to warrant such a heavy representation in a volume about Jewish life.)
This is a wonderful book for children of all ages (including *ahem* those children who have children as well). So many endings for what could have happened whether one stays in Jerusalem or leaves after the Temple is destroyed. So many options and endings! Some involve changing a religion, others involve meeting great rabbis and having students, and I believe one was being put to death (hey it happens). I know what I am going to read again soon!