DESCRIPTION: Menelik can hardly contain his excitement for today he will be allowed to pull the iron from the fire as he works alongside his blacksmith father. It is the day before the Sabbath and they must work quickly to be done in time for no work can go on when the Sabbath comes.
WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: I read an article years ago about a group of Ethiopian Jews known as Falashas who were being airlifted from Ethiopia and relocated to Israel. I was stunned to learn that Jews could be found in an African nation far from the holy city of Jerusalem. Maxine Schur’s scrapbook of the lifestyles of this independent group of people profiles the strong sense of family and faith passed down from generation to generation. Menelik and his family all have different jobs that support their lifestyle and keep each person occupied and working for the good of the whole. The other men, women and children of their village are similarly occupied from farming tasks to protection of the field from ravaging birds. It is a very efficient and hardworking collaborative that is a model for a disciplined and unified community. The Sabbath observance depicts even richer examples of love for God and fellowship among brothers. Family members worship together followed by a feast comprised of foods everyone has brought to share. Schur’s eloquent text combined with Brian Pinkney’s colorfully textured illustrations provide a treasure of remembrance for a tradition and way of life that may soon disappear.
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