I had that lovely experience of discovery this week with a beautifully illustrated, sweet book called “Thank You God! a Jewish child’s book of prayers.” [Note: Amazon.com says it’s temporarily out of stock, but I thought you might like to see the reviews here. Other booksellers, like Barnes & Noble, carry it, too.]
This little gem, written by Judyth Groner and Madeline Wikler, was illustrated by Shelly O. Haas. It’s designed to introduce children to Jewish prayers in a very simple, accessible way.
An overview page talks about the umbrella of opportunities we have to thank God throughout the day – for the gift of the new day in the morning, for protection when we go to sleep, for the natural beauty in our world.
After that, each charming page or page spread features a prayer with a short sentence introducing it, followed by the words in English, in Hebrew, and with transliteration.
- Modeh Ani (morning) prayer
- Blessings before and after eating
- Shabbat blessings (candles, wine, havdalah)
- Other holiday-specific blessings
But it’s the language in the explanations that make this much more than a list of prayers. For instance, with the Shabbat candle blessing is this interpretation: “Thank You, God, for the mitzvah of lighting the candles. May they shine upon us in love and peace.”
Then come some of my favorites: blessings for the wonders of nature (e.g., when we see a sunset, a towering mountain, or a flash of lightning) and on seeing trees bloom.
The charming book ends with the benediction that we say over our children on Shabbat – and with a translation that I like so much.
“May God bless you and keep you.
May God watch over you in kindness.
May God grant you a life in good health, joy, and peace.”
*Fabulous. Intriguing. New-to-Me. Discoveries.