Mrs. Moskowitz and the Sabbath Candlesticks by Amy Schwartz

Since it’s Friday and I’m thinking ahead to Shabbat, I thought I’d blog about one of my favorite Shabbat books — Mrs. Moskowitz and the Sabbath Candlesticks by Amy Schwartz.
Mrs. Moskowitz and the Sabbath Candlesticks

Mrs. Moskowitz and the Sabbath Candlesticks

Moskowitz (as my children like to call the book), is one of the first books published by the incredibly talented writer/ illustrator, Amy Schwartz, who is responsible for some of my favorite mainstream books — like Bea and Mr. Jones, Annabelle Swift, Kindergartener,  and A Glorious Day, to name a few. In this book, Schwartz creates a very special kind of Shabbat book — one that is perfect for families of all denominations and beliefs — no mean feat to be sure. Moskowitz is the story of an older woman who has moved from her family home where she raised her children into an apartment. “This apartment will never be a home,” she says at the beginning of the story.

However, something almost magical seems to happen when her son Sam brings her a box in her old house, a box that contains her old Shabbat candlesticks. She puts them on the table and when she wakes up the next morning, she sees how tarnished they are in the sunlight. So she buys some polish for them. Once they are polished, they look so beautiful that she can’t help but feel badly that they are sitting on such a plain table, so she finds a tablecloth. And on, and on. While the candles don’t do anything special, by the end of the week, her apartment has been completely unpacked and turned into a home — and she’s decided to invite the family over to have a nice Shabbat dinner. 

It’s a lovely story — perfect for discussing the loneliness that older adults can feel, for playing games with your children that involve having them clean things (!). It’s a great book for sharing with grandparents (in my experience, a lot of parents and grandparents tear up during the story). It’s just plain lovely.

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