Mitz­vah Pizza

Sarah Lynn Scheerg­er; Deb­o­rah Mel­mon, illus.

  • Review
By – January 21, 2019

With bright illus­tra­tions and a fes­tive atmos­phere, Mitz­vah Piz­za puts a new twist on a famil­iar con­cept. Mis­sy has received mon­ey for Hanukkah and knows there are almost infi­nite ways in which she could spend it — the choice is not an easy one to make. Dis­cussing her dilem­ma with her father as they walk to get piz­za, she remem­bers past deci­sions that she ulti­mate­ly regret­ted: a bead­ed neck­lace that broke, the cin­na­mon can­dies that burned her tongue, the mod­el­ing clay that was dry and unusable.

As they wait in line to order, Mis­sy befriends anoth­er girl. She sees that while her own dad pays in dol­lars, her new friend’s dad pays” in sticky notes. Mis­sy then notices some­thing unique about the restau­rant: one of its walls is cov­ered with col­or­ful pic­tures drawn on sticky notes. Mis­sy asks her father what that wall is all about, and he explains that each note rep­re­sents one slice of piz­za. These slices have been pre­paid by cus­tomers who want to give to the Piece O’Piz­za Fund, enabling many com­mu­ni­ty res­i­dents who can’t eas­i­ly afford piz­za the oppor­tu­ni­ty to eat a slice with fam­i­ly or friends. He com­ments that doing this is a mitzvah.

Ulti­mate­ly, Mis­sy decides to use her Hanukkah mon­ey to donate to the piz­za fund and returns to the store to pur­chase and dec­o­rate her own sticky notes.

Although this book clear­ly teach­es a les­son about giv­ing and tzedakah, it is not at all preachy. A nat­ur­al pro­gres­sion of events leads this young girl, and the read­er, to learn the val­ue of help­ing oth­ers. Going out for a meal, fac­ing dif­fi­cult dilem­mas regard­ing mon­ey, and con­sult­ing a lov­ing par­ent are expe­ri­ences that will res­onate with almost every reader.

Marge Kaplan is a retired Eng­lish as a Sec­ond Lan­guage teacher. She is a con­sul­tant for the children’s lit­er­a­ture group for the Roseville, MN school sys­tem and is a sto­ry­teller of Jew­ish tales.

Discussion Questions