Twelve-year-old Hannah doesn’t really consider herself Jewish. Although she enjoys baking traditional Jewish treats like rugelach with her brother and Grandma Mimi, she hasn’t given much thought to the more religious aspects of Judaism. But when her best friend Shira has an eventful Bat Mitzvah, Hannah’s interest is piqued, and she decides that she’d like a Bat Mitzvah, too. However, Hannah’s actively secular parents refuse her request. After Grandma Mimi takes Hannah to see Aunt Yael, her mom’s estranged sister and a rabbi, for Bat Mitzvah lessons, Hannah begins to study in secret.
As tensions grow and family secrets threaten to emerge, Hannah learns that becoming a Bat Mitzvah is more than having a party or reading from the Torah. After moments of both loss and surprise, Hannah’s views shift. She discovers that embracing Jewish identity is very personal and extends far beyond the walls of a synagogue.
The story offers thought-provoking sentiments about identity and belonging. What exactly does it mean to be Jewish? What determines what is Jewish enough? Is it blood? Family history? Or something else entirely? Recipe for Disaster is sure to open up a meaningful and relevant conversation.
The book incorporates supplemental materials such as handwritten recipes, Hebrew letter charts, and more. These creative additions enhance Hannah’s narrative and offer extra layers of insight into her world.
This is a thoughtful middle grade novel that will enlighten and inspire young readers.