There’s no dearth of books on how to celebrate Shabbat. So being original was the first challenge for this author, a former publicist and mother of two. Her claims to fame are her website (www.modernjewishmom. com), newspaper column, and series of Shabbat workshops for women’s groups on which this book is based.
Jacobs draws on her traditional Jewish upbringing and current harried life to present myriad ideas for celebrating God’s day of rest. And some of her ideas are, indeed, original. They range from simply lighting candles before running out on Friday night to banning on Shabbat all behavior that can poison the rest of the week.
Jacobs’ approach is personal, friendly, and forgiving. Tips and insights are presented in shaded boxes throughout the book. Her chapter on crafts includes turning an Altoid tin into a traveling Shabbat box and making stamp-art kippot. Some other chapters focus on creating a Shabbat mood in your home, recipes, and after-dinner activities. There are concise summaries of every Torah portion followed by discussion questions to spark engaging table talk. A glossary of Yiddish and Hebrew words and a resource list are included.
The book seems targeted mostly toward moms of younger children but includes a chapter called “Oy, teens,” which suggests, among other things, inviting your adolescent’s friends to your Shabbat meal. Of course, I read this chapter and the one on creating shalom bayit (peace in the home) after my 14-year-old slammed her door in my face. Again.
“What are you reading now?” said daughter asked that evening, upon noticing my review copy of this book. “Is it any good?”
“Yeah, it’s got some pretty good ideas.”
“It tells how to bake challah. Wanna give it a try?”
“Do we have to?”
“No. But it would be fun.”