Rabbi Ruben would be a popular community rabbi in any city or town. He cares deeply about his synagogue and the people it serves, and he has a wonderful, can-do attitude. Unfortunately, the synagogue is no longer in good condition; the windows are drafty, the floors creak, and the kitchen sink leaks. Cheerful Rabbi Ruben is sure he can fix these problems himself, using a bit of ingenuity and whatever materials are on hand. His excellent intentions, though, do not work out quite as he hopes. His repairs fail, and the building is still in shambles. The members of the congregation band together as a community to make the needed repairs. Their helping, sharing, and caring have done the trick — and now their synagogue feels “just like home.”
This well-told story and its colorful, humorous illustrations — which depict individuals with their own personalities and styles — will satisfy children on multiple levels. A Synagogue Just Like Home is a fun story that serves as a perfect example of cooperation. Readers emerge with subtle lessons, effectively taught, about how to be a part of something larger than themselves.
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.