The Rab­bi Slurps Spaghetti 

Leslie Kim­mel­man; Sharon Dav­ey, illus.

  • Review
By – June 17, 2019

The Rab­bi Slurps Spaghet­ti helps young chil­dren under­stand the mul­ti­tude of jobs a rab­bi per­forms. It also human­izes a reli­gious leader who might seem for­mal or stiff to young chil­dren who may only see a rab­bi from a phys­i­cal or emo­tion­al dis­tance. This pic­ture book uses the frame of young detec­tive-in-train­ing Lena, who is curi­ous to find out what the Rab­bi does all day. Lena and her dog, Sandy, attempt to solve The Case of the Mys­te­ri­ous Rab­bi,” also hop­ing to answer the ques­tion — How can one per­son do so much? Lena fol­lows the rab­bi as he goes through his day, and dis­cov­ers that although Rab­bi Max’s life may have some for­mal aspects, he is very much a reg­u­lar per­son as well.

With humor­ous pen-and-ink car­toon-style illus­tra­tions, the read­er is shown every­thing that Rab­bi Max does: from impor­tant rab­binic tasks like teach­ing Torah and cel­e­brat­ing sim­chas and vol­un­teer­ing at Mitz­vah Day and com­fort­ing the sick — to slurp­ing spaghet­ti and hav­ing tea par­ties with his daugh­ter (who turns out to be Lena herself).

This light-heart­ed pic­ture book is an unusu­al take on the life of a com­mu­ni­ty leader and is a must for syn­a­gogue libraries and Rab­bis’ stud­ies. Chil­dren will come away with a new take on some­one they thought they knew, but who is far more com­plex and per­haps much more fun than they imag­ined possible.

Paula Chaiken has worked in a vari­ety of capac­i­ties in the Jew­ish world — teach­ing in reli­gious school, curat­ing at the Sper­tus Muse­um and fundrais­ing for the Fed­er­a­tion — for more than twen­ty years. She also runs a bou­tique pub­lic rela­tions con­sult­ing firm and enjoys read­ing all sorts of books with her three sons.

Discussion Questions