The Christmas Mitzvah
Al Rosen, who celebrates Hanukkah, loves Christmas, a holiday of 'peace on earth and goodwill to humanity.' He does good deeds, or mitzvahs, for neighbors, at first taking the Christmas Eve shift at the local newsstand so the regular clerk can spend the night with his family. Later he goes on the radio to volunteer to work for Christians on Christmas Eve. His labors take him from grocery store to mail room to parking lot to barn. For many years he performs these many different jobs by himself and sometimes with his son and grandchildren, becoming a 'local legend.' People of other faiths, Christian and Muslim, then return the favor on the Jewish High Holidays for Al and his family.
But 'years piled up like drifts in a blizzard, ' and one year Al is too old--but in a grand finale, all join together to light the Hanukkah menorah: It's a veritable 'throng of God's children.' An author's note references the real Al Rosen of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who performed these acts starting in 1969. The brightly colored, busy illustrations fill the pages with a nicely diverse collection of active and energetic folk working and smiling as a community.
Jeff Gottesfeld writes for page, stage, screen, and television. He's won many awards, including ones from the American Library Association, the Association of Jewish Libraries, and the Writer's Guild. He currently lives in Los Angeles.
Michelle Laurentia Agatha was born in Indonesia. She's always had a huge interest in cartoons and illustrated books. Michelle earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, California.
“Jeff Gottesfeld once again introduces readers to an unsung hero whose compassion and kindness make the world a better place. The Christmas Mitzvah is a heartwarming holiday story that is just right for our modern era,and one that will resonate with all faiths. The good deeds (aka mitzvahs) of Al Rosen and his son illustrate the importance of opening one’s heart and giving selflessly to others. This story is destined to become a holiday classic for generations. Beautifully illustrated, it is too good to only read once a year. It will become a family favorite — a book to keep on the shelf and at the bedside all year. I can already hear the sound of children, in love with this story and saying ‘read it again, please!’”
— Sarah Blumenfeld, Lafayette Library and Learning Center Foundation
A heartwarming slice of neighborly love, caring, and sharing.--Kirkus Reviews
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