Chaim Ephraim’s neighbors are having a tough shabbos morning. One family’s heat isn’t working. One family is plagued with bats. One had a baby earlier than expected and is unprepared. One is faced with a giant mess they simply cannot handle, another with cold food, and another with yeast that rose too much ruining the meal. Chaim Ephraim’s family knows that welcoming guests is a mitzvah; it’s what Jewish families are expected to do. They gladly welcome each neighbor-in-need to their table for a hot, hearty shabbos meal. Chaim worries, though. Will there be enough delicious cholent left for him?
This is a lesson in hospitality which shows that there is always enough to go around for those who know how to share. Told in well-metered rhyme, the story is accompanied by full-page color illustrations which are somewhat caricatured and show the humor of the tale. The story, not meant to be subtle, is pleasant and satisfying, much like the savory meal Chaim Ephraim finally gets to share with his family and their guests. Around this family’s table, there is always room for one more.
Recommended for ages 4 – 8.
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.