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New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story Hardcover – June 11, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3–Izzy and his family get ready for the Jewish New Year ceremony of Tashlich, when people toss pieces of bread into a body of water to represent throwing away their misdeeds. Izzy, Miriam, their mom, and their community make a sincere effort to reflect on their own behavior, to apologize to those they have wronged, and to offer forgiveness to those who have wronged them. The setting is based on the annual tradition at Manhattan Beach, CA. Poetic text and flowing autumnal illustrations support the contemplative nature of the tale. Emotions ring true: Izzy nervously puts off difficult apologies, but experiences a clean, wide-open heart once he has spoken up. At the same time, the characters are real and human: despite their efforts to be good, Izzy and Miriam quarrel, as siblings will. A short author's note provides background about the holiday, but the story will be best appreciated by children already familiar with these traditions. However, the universality of emotion and the quality presentation make this book a good choice for multicultural New Year celebrations.–Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Prasie for New Year at the Pier:
"A well-crafted introduction to an alternative aspect of the holiday with room for discussion." --Kirkus Reviews
* "[T]he empathetic, low-key prose makes important points about personal responsibility without pummeling readers." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A child's perspective on atonement and repentance, expressed in meaningful and childlike ways, is sustained throughout a narrative that emphasizes both personal and communal atonement."--Association of Jewish Libraries
"If you are introducing your youngster to the Rosh Hashanah ceremony tashlich, then you'll want to get a copy of New Year at the Pier."--Jewish Woman Magazine
"Believable family interaction, a good sense of community and some lovely language permeate this very now, very real story."--JT News
"[O]ffers an excellent, thorough look at forgiveness during one of the most important holidays of the year."--Jewish Book World Magazine
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Readers will be able to connect with Izzy’s struggles to confront his wrong doings and the challenges that he faced when offering sincere apologies. Anyone unfamiliar with the custom of tashlikh will gain an understanding of how this particular community celebrates this ancient tradition. The words and the illustrations are endearing and provide a glimpse of a several Rosh Hashanah practices.
He drew on Miriam's "forehead . . . while she was asleep." No big deal. He lost his mother's ring at the store. That might be a problem. He broke "Mrs. Bickerson's drum . . . the one they weren't even supposed to touch." Apologizing for that one would be difficult. Oh, there was one more he would have to deal with and that was going to be really hard to deal with. He told his friend Ben he wouldn't tell anyone that he sucked his thumb and then blabbed the secret. On Rosh Hashanah Izzy began to make his apologies and received some in turn. When they went down to the pier to he listened to Rabbi Neil talk about Tashlich and how it "is like cleaning your heart's close . . . a new year, a clean heart." Would Ben ever forgive him for what he had done?
I enjoyed traveling with Izzy and his family to the pier to celebrate and "open their hearts" in forgiveness. This tradition encourages children to think about the negative effect they may have had on others during the preceding year and helps them learn about forgiveness. This story was charming and the watercolors were very appealing and meshed well with the story. My favorite parts were when each child totally accepted and forgave others for their misdeeds, usually forgotten by the time Tashlich rolled around. This is a beautiful book that would be a welcome addition to any classroom or homeschool library. L'shanah Tovah!