Bub­bie & Rivka’s Best-Ever Chal­lah (So Far!)

  • Review
By – December 26, 2022

In this fast-paced, charm­ing sto­ry, Riv­ka and her bub­bie decide on a new cus­tom for their fam­i­ly: they will bake their own chal­lah at home every Fri­day for Shab­bat. The prob­lem is that nei­ther of them has ever baked any­thing before, because Riv­ka was too young and Bub­bie was too busy with her career. After they’ve set out on this new adven­ture togeth­er, Riv­ka describes their bak­ing attempts, while Mom and Grand­pa offer a Greek cho­rus of reviews.

Although the book fol­lows the famil­iar child joins nour­ish­ing grand­par­ent in the kitchen” plot, the sit­u­a­tion ris­es like chal­lah dough through its heavy dose of lev­i­ty and self-aware­ness about try­ing new things. Fail­ure to make the per­fect chal­lah only adds to the fun. Both young­ster and old­ster accept their mis­takes with­out dimin­ish­ing their self-worth. They learn as they bake, improv­ing each time, and they grow the bond between them. Their fam­i­ly trea­sures cel­e­brat­ing Shab­bat because it brings them a sense of love that, in turn, feeds their Jew­ish iden­ti­ty. A stan­dard hol­i­day tra­di­tion becomes indi­vid­u­al­ized for a mod­ern grand­moth­er and her granddaughter.

Ellen G. Cole, a retired librar­i­an of the Levine Library of Tem­ple Isa­iah in Los Ange­les, is a past judge of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards and a past chair­per­son of that com­mit­tee. She is a co-author of the AJL guide, Excel­lence in Jew­ish Children’s Lit­er­a­ture. Ellen is the recip­i­ent of two major awards for con­tri­bu­tion to Juda­ic Librar­i­an­ship, the Fan­ny Gold­stein Mer­it Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries and the Dorothy Schroed­er Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. She is on the board of AJLSC.

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