Dirty Tzitz­it Shiny Neshama

Tsivya Fox; Tanya Leon­tye­va, illus.
  • Review
By – August 21, 2014

Zal­man is a young boy who walks out of the house with a clean pair of tzitz­it and a clean kip­pa on his head every day. Every day he comes home after school, or after vis­it­ing a neigh­bor or play­ing with friends, with dirty tzitz­it. Each time, his moth­er makes a disap­pointed com­ment, Oh Zal­man. More tzitz­it dirt and kip­pa grime?” With­out expla­na­tion, Zal­man apol­o­gizes and goes to wash up. The read­er is privy to what the moth­er is not; he has been per­form­ing acts of chesed, help­ing oth­ers, and, through those activ­i­ties, he has got­ten dirty. For Zalman’s ninth birth­day, his moth­er plans a sur­prise par­ty and asks friends to qui­et­ly invite oth­er friends and neigh­bors. The par­ty opens his mother’s eyes to the won­der­ful chesed Zal­man has been doing and to the source of the dirt and grime.

The illus­tra­tions are bright and invit­ing. The boys wear tzitziy­ot and kipot and the women are dressed in long sleeves and skirts. The sto­ry and the pic­tures are sure to inspire young­sters to want to help oth­ers and the adult read­ers to think twice before complain­ing about dirt and mess. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 4 – 8.

Dro­ra Arussy, Ed.D., is an edu­ca­tion­al con­sul­tant who spe­cial­izes in inte­grat­ing Jew­ish and sec­u­lar stud­ies, the arts into edu­ca­tion, and cre­ative teach­ing for excel­lence in Jew­ish edu­ca­tion. She is the moth­er to four school-age chil­dren and has taught from pre-school through adult. Dro­ra is an adjunct pro­fes­sor of Hebrew lan­guage at Drew University.

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