cover image The Shema in the Mezuzah: Listening to Each Other

The Shema in the Mezuzah: Listening to Each Other

Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, illus. by Joani Keller Rothenberg. Jewish Lights, $18.99 ISBN 978-1-58023-506-8

Sasso, a rabbi and author (God’s Paintbrush), uses a 12th-century rabbinic tale to teach a simple point about listening and compromise. Two groups of people bring their argument to a rabbi, asking him whether the mezuzah, an artifact to hold a prayer scroll that is to be affixed to a house’s doorpost, should be attached horizontally or vertically. The rabbi settles the argument by listening to both sides, in keeping with the practice of listening that the Shema—the prayer in the mezuzah—counsels. Sasso’s tale characteristically harmonizes simplicity and Jewish tradition. Rothenberg’s rich blues and greens and broad strokes are zesty and Chagallesque. A lovely book; would that today’s shouters could take its wisdom to heart. Ages 3–6. (Aug. 23) n