I AM AN ORTHODOX JEW by Laura Greene


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As the flap-copy states, ""this is a clear, easy explanation of what it means to be an Orthodox Jewish child""--but it's considerably less cut-and-dried than it might be, and quite winningly human. Narrator Aaron knows he's different, finds it natural; chafes at some restrictions (sister Rachel, more constrained by Orthodox precepts, has more objections), and explains how he copes with others--when he goes to friend Andy's for dinner, for instance, he takes along his own food (""I eat only kosher food prepared in a kosher kitchen""). He also explains some matters that puzzle, and even disturb, outsiders--like why ""I go to a Hebrew Day School instead of a public school."" But much of the book's positive impact comes from Aaron's detailed account of the Sabbath observation, beginning on Friday afternoon (""in winter the sun sets very early"") when he and Rachel put coins in their charity box --and continuing until the Havdalah service ""when there are three stars in the sky"" the following evening. Perhaps too ecumenically, Andy is on hand for the final sprinkling of wine in each pocket; ""We know that this is just a superstition, but it is fun to believe that the wine will make us rich."" A comfortable, discriminating book not only for Orthodox children and those baffled by them, but for all youngsters uneasy about their own or others' differences.

Pub Date: June 4th, 1979
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston