Can­dles in My Window

Beth Fire­stone
  • Review
By – October 10, 2011
Libby’s fam­i­ly has just moved to Los Ange­les, and she is hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time adjust­ing to her new home. Her father is always work­ing, her moth­er is busy with her writ­ing, her old­er sis­ter is doing what­ev­er it takes to be pop­u­lar, and her younger sis­ter is being cared for by a maid. Lend­ing a help­ing hand to anoth­er girl, Rebec­ca, at the neigh­bor­hood ice cream shop quick­ly leads to a friend­ship with sig­nif­i­cant effect on Libby’s fam­i­ly. Libby’s rela­tion­ship with Rebec­ca, who is Ortho­dox, prompts Lib­by to explore Jew­ish obser­vance, to the dis­may of her par­ents. Only after long-buried secrets are revealed does Libby’s fam­i­ly seem to move toward accept­ing her desire to keep kosher and observe Shab­bat. This revi­sion of a 20-year-old nov­el still cap­tures the pain of a girl who feels adrift and her joy at hav­ing the oppor­tu­ni­ty to explore the Judaism her par­ents sup­pressed for so many years. Rebecca’s fam­i­ly shows her the warmth lack­ing in her own home and mod­els the mitz­vah of hachnas­sat orchim (wel­com­ing guests) for Lib­by and the read­er. Their patient answers to her many ques­tions may help read­ers under­stand more about Judaism along with Lib­by. Includes a glos­sary of Hebrew and Yid­dish terms. Grades 5 – 8.
Mar­ci Lavine Bloch earned her MLS from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land, a BA from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia and an MA in Eng­lish Lit­er­a­ture from Ford­ham Uni­ver­si­ty. She has worked in syn­a­gogue and day school libraries and is cur­rent­ly fin­ish­ing her term on the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Committee.

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