Bubbe’s Belat­ed Bat Mitzvah

Isabel Pin­son
  • Review
By – October 31, 2014

While Bubbe is teach­ing her great-grand­daugh­ter Nao­mi to cro­chet kip­pot, Nao­mi real­izes that despite her involve­ment in gen­er­a­tions of her fam­i­ly mem­bers’ b’nai mitzvot, Bubbe has nev­er read from the Torah. With Naomi’s encour­age­ment, Bubbe learns Hebrew and even­tu­al­ly becomes a Bat Mitz­vah. All of her great-grand­chil­dren help with the cel­e­bra­tion, from design­ing the invi­ta­tions to edit­ing Bubbe’s dvar Torah. 

Inspired by the author’s moth­er who became a Bat Mitz­vah at age 95, this sweet and warm book is per­fect for a grand­child to share with a grand­par­ent. The col­or­ful illustra­tions in acrylics on paper add zip to the qui­et sto­ry and are pep­pered with Jew­ish ref­er­ences and thought­ful details — from the Yid­dish dai­ly paper that Nao­mi reads at the kitchen table to the green kip­pot that Nao­mi cro­chets in Bubbe’s favorite color. 

Bubbe’s Belat­ed Bat Mitz­vah high­lights the his­tor­i­cal changes in women’s roles in the syn­a­gogue with­out being preachy or overbear­ing. Through per­se­ver­ance and encourage­ment, Bubbe is our hero, reclaim­ing an hon­or that she was denied as a young girl. 

High­ly rec­om­mend­ed for ages 3 – 9.

Paula Chaiken has worked in a vari­ety of capac­i­ties in the Jew­ish world — teach­ing in reli­gious school, curat­ing at the Sper­tus Muse­um and fundrais­ing for the Fed­er­a­tion — for more than twen­ty years. She also runs a bou­tique pub­lic rela­tions con­sult­ing firm and enjoys read­ing all sorts of books with her three sons.

Discussion Questions