Rachel Kamin is the Director of the Joseph and Mae Gray Cultural & Learning Center at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, Illinois. A past chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, Rachel is currently the co-editor of Book Reviews for Children & Teens for the Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter. She holds a BA in history from Grinnell College and a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Michigan.
On Sukkot and Simchat Torah
A young girl narrates her family’s celebration of Sukkot and Simchat Torah: building and decorating the sukkah, inviting the ushpizin, eating and sitting in the sukkah, blessing the lulav and etrog, going to the synagogue for Shemini Atzeret, marching and dancing on Simchat Torah, and listening to her mother chant from the Torah. As with the other books in this series (On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, On Hanukkah, On Purim, On Shabbat, and On Passover) Fishman places Sukkot and Simchat Torah within the context of the Jewish year — “It feels good to be busy after the thoughtful stillness of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.” She also weaves interesting facts and concepts into the text, explaining how the lulav reminds us that God is everywhere and how the lulav and etrog are like a person with a heart, lips, eyes, and backbone. Melanie Hall’s soft, whimsical, pastel illustrations complement the mood and tone of the narration and beautifully illustrate the rich traditions of these two holidays. For ages 6 – 10.
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