We Can Do Mitzvos Around the Jew­ish Year

Yael Zoldan; Robert Salan­i­tro, illus.
  • Review
By – January 20, 2016

This love­ly sto­ry, told in rhyme, accom­pa­nies the young read­er around the Jew­ish year, intro­duc­ing Jew­ish hol­i­days and their cus­toms. Hol­i­day cus­toms are clear­ly delin­eat­ed, and illus­tra­tions assist in mak­ing them visu­al for the read­er. The tone of the sto­ry through­out is light and inclu­sive — as are the illustra­tions, which show chil­dren involved in all the cus­toms, often along with their par­ents, in prepar­ing for and observ­ing the mitzvot relat­ing to the hol­i­day. The text and the illustra­tions both give a sense of close and lov­ing fam­i­ly rela­tion­ships. After the text, there is a two page wrap-up show­ing spe­cial days and hol­i­days with their unique obser­vances and mitzvos we can do, to make Hashem so glad.” This sec­tion intro­duces minor” hol­i­days, includ­ing Tu Bish­vat, Lag B’Omer, and the fasts, includ­ing the Tenth of Teves, Sev­en­teenth of Tam­muz, and Tisha B’Av, giv­ing their backgrounds. 

End­pa­pers are dec­o­rat­ed with both the names of the hol­i­days and sym­bols relat­ing to the hol­i­days — drei­del, Torah, seder plate, lulav and etrog, sho­far, and Chumash. 

The sto­ry is told from a tra­di­tion­al point of view and the illus­tra­tions con­firm that, with syn­a­gogues sep­a­rat­ing the sex­es and men and women dressed in gar­ments that iden­ti­fy them as reli­gious Jews. Hebrew is used in the illus­tra­tions and dec­o­ra­tions, which is ap­propriate for chil­dren with Hebrew lan­guage famil­iar­i­ty. Trans­la­tion or translit­er­a­tion of these words would have been helpful. 

This book is rec­om­mend­ed for preschool class­rooms for all denom­i­na­tions, as this can be an excel­lent intro­duc­tion and dis­cus­sion-open­er for young chil­dren, and it is also rec­om­mend­ed for homes that observe a tra­di­tion­al lifestyle. Ages 2 – 5.

Shelly Feit has an M.L.S. and a Sixth-year Spe­cial­ist’s Cer­tifi­cate in infor­ma­tion sci­ence. She is the library direc­tor and media spe­cial­ist at the Mori­ah School in Engle­wood, NJ.

Discussion Questions