Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Truth about My Bat Mitzvah by Nora Raleigh Baskin

When Caroline's grandmother dies, her grandfather gives her a beautiful piece of Nana's jewelry, a lovely golden chain with delicate little circles perfectly linked together. As Grandfather lets the sparkling chain slowly drop into Caroline's open palms, she is surprised to realize that there is a Star of David at the end of the golden necklace. Two elongated, intertwined triangles, contrasted in light and dark gold, form the six-pointed Star of David, a symbol of her nana's Jewish faith. Caroline has never thought much about religion. Her mother has never brought her to a synagogue, where she worshipped as a child, nor has her father ever brought her to a church, where he grew up worshipping. Now Caroline is confronted with her Jewish heritage. Is she really Jewish? What does that mean for her? Her best friend Rachel is preparing to become a bat mitzvah and asks Caroline to help her plan an elaborate party to celebrate. Secretly, Caroline wishes to become a bat mitzvah and have a big party, too. Does she have a right to it? And what would she have to do for it? As Caroline explores her multicultural family background to help her understand who she really is, she makes some wonderful discoveries about her Jewish heritage. To her amazement, she also meets some new family members. The Truth about My Bat Mitzvah is a beautifully written story about a young girl, who in the process of discovering her Christian-Jewish roots, finds herself. Review by Trudy Walsh

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