Chaim Ephraim and the Shab­bos Guests

Lori Holz­man; Rachel Edel­stein, illus.
  • Review
By – June 30, 2016

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.

Discussion Questions