Award-winner Kimmel retells a Jewish fable of greed and generosity.
At Joseph’s weekly Sabbath table, all are welcomed—rich or poor, young or old. Joseph’s neighbor, Judah, also sets a bountiful table each week, but he prefers to invite only important people to his Sabbath meal; he gives his charity to the beggars in the street. Judah chastises Joseph for his excessive hospitality and correctly predicts that he will soon lose all his wealth. A foreboding dream warns Judah that he, too, might lose his fortune and that Joseph will one day count Judah’s money for himself. Judah, shaken, sells his property, buys a large ruby and leaves Tiberias by sea—and loses the jewel, the last of his wealth, in a strong storm. Returning to Tiberias, he approaches the always kind and benevolent Joseph for help. Joseph’s luck has once again changed with a fish he received at market: Cutting it open revealed the ruby Judah lost. As in Marilyn Hirsh’s Joseph Who Loved the Sabbath, illustrated by Devis Grebu (1986), Kimmel reconciles the differing attitudes through a conclusion about the importance of celebrating the Sabbath “with an open door and an open heart.” Blended shades of blues, purples and greens done in watercolor, pen and pastel illuminate the old Israeli scenes integral to the narration.
Heartwarming for Jewish collections and religious-school settings. (Picture book/religion. 5-7)