Chik Chak Shabbat

Mara Rock­liff

  • Review
By – October 31, 2014

Every Sat­ur­day, Goldie Sim­cha invites a di­verse group of friends from her apart­ment build­ing to share a Shab­bat meal of cholent. Tom­my San­ti­a­go, Sig­no­ra Bel­la­gal­li, Mr. Moon, and the Omar fam­i­ly appre­ci­ate the Jew­ish stew and its sim­i­lar­i­ties to foods from their cul­tures, as well as the spe­cial Shab­bat feel­ing of com­mu­ni­ty and friend­ship around Goldie’s table. When Goldie gets sick, her neigh­bors work togeth­er to cre­ate a Shab­bat meal for her with their own eth­nic foods.

Mara Rock­liff packs a lot of learn­ing into this pic­ture book — from the tra­di­tions of eat­ing cholent and Shab­bat prepa­ra­tions to diverse last names and food selec­tions from around the world to the con­cept of wel­com­ing the neigh­bor. Kyrsten Brook­er uses oil paint and col­lage in the joy­ful and clever illus­tra­tions; the eth­nic menu items, for exam­ple, stand out in col­lage. Goldie’s cholent recipe is includ­ed at the end of the story.

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.

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