Anna, an introspective, creative, and self-deprecating young girl finds herself lacking compared to her elegant and fashionable mother. Contemplating her mother’s exciting escapades, she thinks of herself as not as creative, not as caring, and not as much fun.
Anna’s devoted mother delights in celebrating with special food, whether for Rosh Hashanah, the last day of school, or a cousin’s third birthday. The two of them take many outings to Mr. Reuben’s Market, a fancy food emporium that sells old-world Jewish products: babka, smoked fish, rugelach, olives, pickles, and more.
On one of their market excursions, Anna sees a hungry man on the street and is inspired to begin a tzedakah project to help him. Through this experience she discovers an intrinsic connection to her idealized mother; maybe they aren’t so different, after all.
The illustrations, especially of Mr. Reuben’s Market, are delightful. The story opens up many possible discussion topics: the meaning of tzedakah, enduring poverty and how to help people in need, family dynamics, and the importance of food in family rituals.
Award-winning journalist and freelance writer, Helen Weiss Pincus, has taught memoir writing and creative writing throughout the NY Metro area to senior citizens and high school students. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Record, The Jewish Standard, and other publications. She recently added “Bubby” to her job description.