Zei­de! Why are you Wear­ing White Ten­nis Shoes on Yom Kippur?

Lar­ry Nein­stein; Lor­raine Bubar, illus.
  • Review
By – January 20, 2016

Lar­ry Nein­stein calls upon his expe­ri­ences as a grand­fa­ther and a can­tor in writ­ing this book. Bel­la is a curi­ous young lady who wants to know why her Zei­de” is wear­ing white sneak­ers on Yom Kip­pur. Each time she asks the ques­tion, Zei­de explains anoth­er aspect of the Rosh Hashana/​Yom Kip­pur hol­i­day sea­son in sim­ple straight­for­ward lan­guage. Younger chil­dren will be drawn to lis­ten to the explana­tions of the chal­lah, apples, etc. in antic­i­pa­tion of the response to Bella’s ini­tial ques­tion, Why are you wear­ing white ten­nis shoes on Yom Kip­pur?” The book con­cludes with Zei­de explain­ing the sim­plic­i­ty of Yom Kip­pur and the need to focus on fam­i­ly and friends. 

The water­col­or images cre­at­ed by Bubar are real­is­tic and bright. Bella’s and Zeide’s shoes are a recur­ring visu­al through­out the book, inter­twined with round chal­lah, apples and hon­ey, immi­grants, and more. The syn­a­gogue scene has only males lead­ing the ser­vice. In the tal­lit- and kipah-wear­ing con­gre­ga­tion, there are what appear to be two females, but may also be two men with long hair, mak­ing it applic­a­ble to all denominations. 

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 4 – 7.

Dro­ra Arussy, Ed.D., is an edu­ca­tion­al con­sul­tant who spe­cial­izes in inte­grat­ing Jew­ish and sec­u­lar stud­ies, the arts into edu­ca­tion, and cre­ative teach­ing for excel­lence in Jew­ish edu­ca­tion. She is the moth­er to four school-age chil­dren and has taught from pre-school through adult. Dro­ra is an adjunct pro­fes­sor of Hebrew lan­guage at Drew University.

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