ForeWord Reviews

great books independent voices

Tastes of Jewish Tradition

Activities Stories & Recipes for the Whole Family

Foreword Review — Mar / Apr 2002

In ancient times, Jews counted up days from Passover to Shavuot by measuring out an “omer” of grain. When they had forty-nine omers, they knew Shavuot had arrived. The seven weeks between the holidays is still referred to as counting the omer. This is one example of the many interesting facts in Tastes of Jewish Tradition.

If one works with Jewish educators or there are a parents looking for activities to do with children on the Jewish holidays, this comprehensive guide to holidays around the year will fulfill needs. Parents, Jewish educators, rabbis, artists, and the JCC staff all worked together at the JCC Parenting and Family Center of Milwaukee to create this book in order to encourage “the transmission of Jewish traditions, values and rituals.”

Each chapter highlights a different Jewish holiday, giving the origin, ways to celebrate, related songs, stories, and recipes. The book starts out with Shabbat, the most important day of the week. Ways to celebrate Shabbat, the traditional Shabbat menu, recipes, and stories are included. There also is an arts and crafts section providing instructions for making candlesticks, Kiddush cups, and a challah cover. The holiday Rosh Hashanah has all of the above activities and more—how to make cards, various games, and table settings to name a few. Other holidays, such as Yom Kippur, Sukkoth, Hanukkah, TuBishvat, Purim, and Passover are presented in the same format. In addition, the book also contains a special section for more recipes, as well as a special section for prayers and blessings. An extensive index is included and even reproducible templates of holiday symbols to go along with each holiday.

The Taste of Jewish Tradition is a reference one can use many times throughout the year to create meaningful holiday experiences. It belongs in all Jewish schools, synagogues, and home libraries.

Susan Berman