The Christ­mas Mitzvah

  • Review
By – December 10, 2021

Based on the true sto­ry of a remark­able man named Al Rosen, The Christ­mas Mitvzah will leave the read­er with a warm, grat­i­fy­ing feel­ing and a desire to find peo­ple in need of help who they can assist in ways large and small.

Al real­ized one crisp Decem­ber that many peo­ple had to work on Christ­mas, and he resolved to send them home to cel­e­brate with their fam­i­lies while he vol­un­teered to take over their jobs for the day. Over the years, Al spent Decem­ber 25th sell­ing news­pa­pers, shin­ing shoes, pump­ing gas, tend­ing bar, and fill­ing a vari­ety of oth­er roles so that oth­ers could cel­e­brate their hol­i­days at home along with their fam­i­lies. He includ­ed mem­bers of his own fam­i­ly in this unique and impor­tant mitz­vah, impart­ing to them along the way the joy in help­ing oth­ers. Al con­tin­ued to give of him­self in this spe­cial way until he was eighty years old. His gen­eros­i­ty and love were appre­ci­at­ed by those he helped, who showed their grat­i­tude, in return, by help­ing him when he could no longer assist them and by cel­e­brat­ing Hanukkah with him and his family.

This sto­ry, filled with the inher­ent beau­ty of its sub­ject, is enhanced fur­ther by evoca­tive illus­tra­tions that con­vey the feel­ing of warmth and care per­son­i­fied by Al Rosen’s life. The illus­tra­tions are filled with bright, hap­py col­ors, sparkling facial expres­sions, and touch­es of gen­tle humor through­out. The opti­mism of the sto­ry is reflect­ed in the art.

An author’s note tells more about Al and his life and refers the read­er to a web­site where fur­ther infor­ma­tion can be found. It also explains the hol­i­day of Hanukkah, not­ing its cal­en­dar prox­im­i­ty to Christ­mas, and includes, as well, a link to a web­site where read­ers can learn more about Hanukkah and its customs.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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