Shab­bat in the Playroom

Galia Sab­bag; Erin Tay­lor, illus.
  • Review
By – November 8, 2013

Writ­ten by a Hebrew day-school teacher, and inspired by a myr­i­ad of her stu­dents’ expe­ri­ences over the years, Shab­bat in the Play­room is the charm­ing tale of a young Jew­ish girl who loves Shab­bat. Shi­ra has tried to per­suade her par­ents to cre­ate Shab­bat at home but they either fail to notice her en­thusiasm or are just too involved in their own activ­i­ties so she decides to cre­ate it for her­self. Using her imag­i­na­tion, she trans­forms var­i­ous items from her room such as dolls, toys, and pieces of cloth into pre­tend Jew­ish arti­facts need­ed for Kab­bal­at Shab­bat. Lego blocks become can­dles, dolls and ted­dy bears make excel­lent guests, a tis­sue-stuffed brown sock looks just like a chal­lah, a pil­low­case works as table­cloth, a Hebrew book becomes a sid­dur, and a plas­tic cup is per­fect for kiddush.

Shi­ra per­forms her rit­u­al hap­pi­ly and enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly. She doesn’t know her par­ents are watch­ing at her bed­room door. Her par­ents are so impressed by her ded­i­ca­tion and by the beau­ty of the Shab­bat she has cre­at­ed that they promise to make this into a reg­u­lar fam­i­ly rit­u­al in their home.

This inspir­ing and empow­er­ing sto­ry is beau­ti­ful­ly illus­trat­ed with sim­ple draw­ings. It also includes the Hebrew texts for the nec­es­sary prayers and songs so chil­dren can recre­ate the expe­ri­ence in their own homes. It might have been help­ful for some of the intend­ed audi­ence had the prayers been trans­lat­ed and translit­er­at­ed, as well.

This is a won­der­ful addi­tion to a Jew­ish child’s home library and would also be use­ful in school pro­grams. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 4 – 7.

Noa Paz Wahrman is a Jew­ish stud­ies librar­i­an and bib­li­og­ra­ph­er at Indi­ana Uni­ver­si­ty in Bloom­ing­ton IN.

Discussion Questions