Alone Togeth­er on Dan Street

Eri­ca Lyons; Jen Jamieson, illus.

  • Review
By – April 28, 2022

Mira and her fam­i­ly begin prepar­ing for Passover just as they have done every year, but they know this year will be dif­fer­ent from pre­ced­ing ones. In the past, extend­ed fam­i­ly and friends have joined Mira and her fam­i­ly at a live­ly, busy seder where they sang togeth­er, ate togeth­er, and cel­e­brat­ed their his­to­ry in a vibrant, live­ly atmosphere.

This year is dif­fer­ent. It is the first win­ter of the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic, and no one is per­mit­ted to social­ize or gath­er in groups; every­one must stay in their own homes. Mira real­izes that many of her neigh­bors live alone and, for them, cel­e­brat­ing at home with­out guests means cel­e­brat­ing in soli­tude. She moves her prac­tic­ing of the tra­di­tion­al Four Ques­tions out onto the bal­cony and begins talk­ing to the neigh­bors sit­ting out on their balconies.

Soon, a new seder plan emerges as each fam­i­ly invites oth­ers to con­sid­er the idea of bal­cony songs to be sung togeth­er from their own homes, yet some­how each as part of a com­mu­ni­ty. They can share their voic­es and their joy with oth­ers, singing with spir­it and verve, while show­ing their strong vibrant con­nec­tions with one anoth­er. This Passover may not be typ­i­cal, but it is very spe­cial and will be long remem­bered by the res­i­dents of Dan Street with a nos­tal­gic smile.

A note to fam­i­lies informs the read­er that this sce­nario occurred all over Israel dur­ing the pandemic’s first year. Rem­i­nis­cences abound about the way mem­bers of Israeli soci­ety reached out to the peo­ple around them that night, step­ping out onto their bal­conies and into their court­yards, singing and inter­act­ing with those under dif­fer­ent roofs but under the same sky. Song was heard that night in the cities and towns through­out Israel. This love­ly book, with its evoca­tive col­or illus­tra­tions of Israeli scenes, tells a heart­warm­ing and accu­rate sto­ry that encap­su­lates the spir­it of Israel and of Israelis who tru­ly know how to share and care.

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.

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