It’s Tot Shabbat

It’s Tot Shabbat

By: Naomi Danis
Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
Publication Date: March 2011
ISBN: 978-0761345152
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Reviewed: March 2011

It's Shabbat and everyone is heading for the synagogue, but while the grown-ups are praying all the little children will play. It's a fun time when all the boys and girls get together in their "Shabbat Club." One little boy isn't quite sure he will like the club, but later on he's sure to have some fun. There are many things to play with including blocks, toy cars, and even a basket of farm animals and dinos. The club is a great place to "make new friends." There is also the time when the Torahs are removed from a cabinet so everyone gets a chance to hold one. Of course there are big smiles all around!

It's circle time in the Shabbat Club and it's time to listen to a story. Everyone clusters around the teacher, eager to hear the story of Noah's Ark. Pretending to be an animal from the ark is lots of fun ... grrrrr! There are other stories to be told and one of them is about the Tower of Babel. Up go the big blocks, but all the children know that the "workers didn't cooperate, and the tower fell down." There are many things to do in the club, but at the end there is always time for a Shabbat snack. The table is set and when everyone is ready they say the brachah before they have "a cup of grape juice and a piece of challah." After the snack it's off to the sanctuary "to the bimah to sing `Adon Olam' with the whole congregation." Shabat Shalom ... until next week when the club meets again!

This book is an excellent way to introduce the preschooler to Shabbat activities. Whenever any situation is introduced for the first time it is often difficult for little ones to adjust, especially if they don't know what will happen. When one little boy was brought into the Shabbat Club he looked rather uncertain, something that happens frequently. As the author perfectly stated: "Sometimes we feel shy. Sometimes we feel friendly." The portrayal of this realistic situation will make it easier for the tentative child to see that Shabbat can be a fun time and is something to look forward to. This "Tot" Shabbat was full of smiles and the story, told both in words and pictures, illustrates the fun to be had. In the back of the book is a glossary, a blessing to be said over the wine, and one over the bread (these also are in Hebrew script).

Quill says: If you have a preschooler who will be going to the synagogue with you, this is one book you should consider!

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