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IN GOD’S HANDS by Lawrence Kushner


by Lawrence Kushner, Gary Schmidt, illustrated by Matthew J. Baek

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-58023-224-8
Publisher: Jewish Lights

Wealthy Jacob is concerned with ways to make more money but routinely falls asleep during the Rabbi’s weekly Sabbath service. Less fortunate David, the caretaker of the synagogue, worries each week about his empty cupboards and hungry children. During one service, Jacob awakens long enough to hear the Torah portion from the Book of Leviticus where God instructs Moses to bake 12 loaves and set them before him in equal rows of six, each Sabbath day. Thinking God has spoken to him alone, Jacob goes home, bakes 12 loaves of challah and returns to the synagogue placing the loaves within the holy ark. Later, as David cleans up, he prays before the ark for his starving family. Opening it, he finds the challahs and rejoices for his answered prayers. The routine continues for several years until the wise Rabbi catches both men in their respective rituals and explains their lives are connected by their actions, not by God’s direction: “your hands are God’s hands.” As in the child-oriented Bagels from Benny by Aubrey Davis (2003), discussable themes of goodwill and kindness resonate throughout. The nearly full-page, folk-style, expressive paintings, compliment the sensitively told story. A worthy choice for all collections. (Picture book. 5-9)