Raque­la’s Seder

Joel Edward Stein, Sara Ugolot­ti (Illus­tra­tor)

  • Review
By – April 11, 2022

Com­fort­ing, warm, deeply toned illus­tra­tions and sim­ple, qui­et sto­ry­telling por­tray a moment in the life of Raque­la, a young girl who is an only child and lives with her par­ents in Spain dur­ing the time of the Inqui­si­tion. As many Jews found it nec­es­sary to do dur­ing the Inqui­si­tion, Raque­la and her fam­i­ly cel­e­brate the Sab­bath in secre­cy. Her par­ents have told her about the hol­i­day of Passover but are afraid to cel­e­brate the hol­i­day with a tra­di­tion­al seder. Raque­la wants to expe­ri­ence a seder, but her entreaties are met only with parental con­cern. Then, her fish­er­man father comes up with a cre­ative approach enabling Raquela’s wish to come true in a unique and sat­is­fy­ing way.

Age-appro­pri­ate­ly hint­ing at the his­tor­i­cal hor­rors with­out graph­ic descrip­tions, the sto­ry sweeps the read­er into a world of small mir­a­cles, devo­tion, imag­i­na­tion, and parental love. Raque­la and her fam­i­ly cre­ate a seder the read­er longs to attend.

Award-win­ning jour­nal­ist and free­lance writer, Helen Weiss Pin­cus, has taught mem­oir writ­ing and cre­ative writ­ing through­out the NY Metro area to senior cit­i­zens and high school stu­dents. Her work has been pub­lished in The New York Times, The Record, The Jew­ish Stan­dard, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. She recent­ly added Bub­by” to her job description.

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