f you would like to know more about the way Orthodox Jews lived before the Holocaust then read this delightful historical novel by Anna Ciddor. Based on the stories told to her by her grandmother, the novel is set in Lublin, Poland in the 1920s where the large and loving Rabinovitch family live a traditional and rich cultural life determined by the teachings of the Torah.
Extensive research informs the backbone of the novel which describes daily rituals including meal preparation, the beauty of the Sabbath and special celebrations such as the betrothal and wedding of the oldest daughter Adina to a man she has never met as was the tradition.
But this is also a real live family full of mischievous younger children, serious older ones and the in-betweeners who are learning their place in the Jewish world. Father is a warm-hearted devout Rabbi and Mother is a bustling busy wife and mother overseeing a boisterous household.
nna has enhanced the story with her charming tiny black ink illustrations at the beginning of each chapter and a portrait of the whole family at the beginning. Although the novel is nominally for children 8-12 it is really for anyone aged “8 to 108”.