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This is one of the newest Jewish children books and the review of The Sun's Special Blessing by Fern Sidman comes hot off the press.

Do you have any favourite Jewish children books or a favourite Jewish parenting book? Please send us your reviews. We would love to include them on our site for other parents to enjoy. Share your book review

The Sun's Special Blessing
By: Sandy Wasserman and Ann D. Koffsky (illustrator)
Publisher :Pitspopany Press(2009)

Book Review by: FERN SIDMAN

Around the world Jewish day school and yeshiva classrooms are buzzing with excitement as children are being taught the special meaning and significance of Birkas HaChama. On Erev Pesach, the 14th of Nissan, (April 8, 2009) the Jewish people will, IY"H recite the blessing for the sun which is said only once every 28 years. Marking the exact time that Hashem created the sun during the six days of creation, Birkas Ha Chama has captured the imagination of both children and adults.

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In this cogently written and beautifully illustrated book for children entitled, "The Sun's Special Blessing ", author Sandy Wasserman takes her young readers along on an inspirational and sanguine journey with a class of third graders who learn profound lifetime lessons; namely that as much as things change with time, certain things always remain the same. Through the sensitive and creative lessons of their teacher, Mr. Jacobs, Adam, Talia and the other children gain a deeper appreciation for the world that they live in and the glory and majesty of Hashem.

When asked by Mr. Jacobs if anyone in the class has ever recited a brocha for the sun, no one raises their hand. As a recipient of the manifold benefits that the sun provides, young Adam queries, "Do we say the blessing because the sun gives heat and light, and helps plants to grow? That's a lot to bless G-d for. I'm happy when it's a sunny day." When Adam asks why we bless the sun once every 28 years, Mr. Jacobs replies that, "Hashem created the sun on the fourth day of Creation. Even though the sun is in the sky daily, it's only in the exact spot it was at Creation every twenty-eight years."

The inquisitive young minds yearn to delve deeper and Mr. Jacobs tells them of his experience reciting Birkas HaChama back in 1981 when he was their age and a student himself at that very school. As a class project at that time, Mr. Jacobs and his fellow classmates all brought in items from that period to place in a time capsule that they placed in the ground and which was to be unearthed 28 years later. Having remembered where it was buried, Mr. Jacobs distributes shovels and leads his students outside near the school flagpole. The children roar with excitement when they find out that whoever taps the time capsule first gets to keep what is included in it. Brimming with great interest and exuberance, each child takes his or her turn until they have located the buried capsule.

Talia is the lucky one who finds it and the children learn about a world that has thus far eluded them. Memorabilia from the early 1980s such as a Rubik's cube, a VHS movie tape, a New York Times photo of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, a magazine advertisement for an IBM-PC, cassette tapes of Uncle Moishy songs are among the items of a bygone era that they find. Filled with questions, Mr. Jacobs answers his students by giving them a brief history lesson on each item and the popular cultural trends of the time.

He then suggests that the class mark the special 2009 Birkas HaChama by dedicating time to learn about the history of the blessing, the Hebrew calendar and to collect items for their own 2009 time capsule to be buried and dug up in the year 2037. The children couldn't be more thrilled, as Mr. Jacobs chanted, "Blessed are You, O Lord, our G-d, King of the Universe, Make of Creation. In Hebrew it's "Baruch Atah Hashem Elokeinu Melech HaOlam Oseh Ma'aseh Bereishit." "We make blessing all the time, in the synagogue and at home, expressing our wonder at G-d's creation, " Mr. Jacobs reminded everyone and told the class that they would all recite the brocha together on Erev Pesach.

He asked the class to think about how 2009 will be remembered in Jewish and secular history and to select items to be placed in the polyethylene time capsule that reflect the religious, cultural and political norms of the time. The children scurry home and feverishly look for items to be placed in their own time capsule. Before going to bed that night, Talia said, "When I wake up I'm going to write a letter to include in the time capsule for this special year: "Shalom, dear students of the future..." She pictures the excitement of the students in the year 2037 as they also learn about Birkat HaChama and are equally amazed at the events of 2009.

This thoughtful book makes a great bedtime story for elementary aged children and an invaluable educational tool for day schools and yeshivos. No Jewish home or library should be without it !!
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 Fern Sidman

This link will take you directly to where you can learn more about The Sun's Special Blessingjewish children books as well as other Jewish children books.

Do you have any favourite Jewish children books or a favourite Jewish parenting book? Please send us your reviews. We would love to include them on our site for other parents to enjoy. Share your book review

Read another review by Fern Sidman

spiritual parenting Raising a Child with Soul: How Time-Tested Jewish Wisdom Can Shape Your Child's Characterjewish children books
By: Slovie Jungreis-Wolff
St. Martin's Griffin, (2009)

This book is a hybrid of sorts; combining practical parenting guidelines along with a delicious selection of poignant stories and a vast array of Torah related concepts that are presented with a palpable degree of warmth and love.
read book reviews Read the rest of this review

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