by Sheilah Abramson-Miles
Though we celebrated Shavuot last weekend, we wanted to highlight this review and guide of a PJ Library book by our very own WRJ Board Member Sheilah Abramson-Miles.
Title: A Mountain of Blintzes
Author: Barbara Diamond Goldin
Illustrator: Anik McGrory
Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Children
Intended for Ages: 5-6 years
Jewish Customs: Shavuot, the custom of eating blintzes.
Additional Topics Mentioned: Working as a team, facing challenges and misunderstandings.
Sarah, Max and their five children live in the Catskills. They represent the Jewish farming families who ultimately turned this beautiful mountain area of upstate New York into a thriving resort community in the 20th century. As Shavuot approaches, they begin to save money to purchase the ingredients for Sarah’s fabulous blintzes, so they can make a mountain of blintzes as big as Mount Sinai! Mother, father and the children each try to bring something to the table to make the blintzes. A misunderstanding between Sarah and Max almost ruins the day, but a sweet and happy ending comes to pass.
- This book highlights the importance of working as a team: This story demonstrates a large Jewish family lovingly working together. In order to save money for ingredients for the blintzes, Max and Sarah take additional jobs, yet without their children secretly working in the neighborhood in exchange for groceries—they would not have been able to celebrate. This shows that each person, regardless of their age, can contribute and make a difference for the better.
- This book shows that we can overcome misunderstandings: Max and Sarah agree to work hard before Shavuot and save all of their earnings, so they can buy blintzes. Thinking of other things that their family needs and trusting each other to save instead—they almost miss out on the chance to have blintzes during the holiday! At first, they are angry with each other, yet their children help them overcome the misunderstanding with humor and thoughtful behavior.
Jewish Topics for Family Discussion
On a personal note, this book was a wonderful springboard for me to talk about Shavuot with two of my grandchildren; Elijah (9) read the book to his sister, Keegan (5), as well as to me and my husband. As Elijah read, Keegan kept turning the page to see what happens next. We all enjoyed this book very much!
- The custom of eating blintzes: One of the customs of Shavuot is to eat blintzes and other dairy products, in reflection of the symbol of Israel as a land flowing with milk and honey. Although they have limited means, the family in this book works hard together to save money to buy the ingredients to make a mountain of blintzes! Not only does this book provide a wonderful introduction to Shavuot, but the author also includes a recipe for making a mountain of blintzes from scratch. This can be a terrific activity for you to try out with your family! Other recipes for blintzes or additional Shavuot treats can also be found on ReformJudaism.org.
A Mountain of Blintzes was mailed to 5-6 year old children in May 2012 as part of their PJ Library® subscription. PJ Library® provides the gift of free Jewish books and music to families raising Jewish children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years. To find out if subscriptions are available in your area, please visit the PJ Library®-URJ-WRJ Partnership page.
Originally posted at ReformJudaism.org.
Sheilah Abramson-Miles is a WRJ Board member and WRJ Central District First Vice President. She belongs to Women of Temple Shalom in Louisville, KY.