Happy New Year, Beni

Overview

This Rosh Hashanah, Beni and Sara are going to Grandma and Grandpa's for the holidays. Everyone will be there— including cousin Max.

Before dinner, Sara lights the candles and Grandpa says the Kiddush. "To a sweet, good year! L'shanah Tovah!" At the temple, Papa blows the shofar and joyfully welcomes in the new year. But Max almost spoils the holiday for everyone— he hogs all the sweet fruits at dinner and puts creepy surprises under his cousins' pillows. It's only when Grandpa ...

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Overview

This Rosh Hashanah, Beni and Sara are going to Grandma and Grandpa's for the holidays. Everyone will be there— including cousin Max.

Before dinner, Sara lights the candles and Grandpa says the Kiddush. "To a sweet, good year! L'shanah Tovah!" At the temple, Papa blows the shofar and joyfully welcomes in the new year. But Max almost spoils the holiday for everyone— he hogs all the sweet fruits at dinner and puts creepy surprises under his cousins' pillows. It's only when Grandpa takes a quiet moment to explain the tradition of Tashlikh that Max is willing to start the new year off with a clean slate. Or is he?

Jane Breskin Zalben captures the joy and warmth of this special holiday through her sensitive storytelling and detailed pastel-colored illustrations.

After constantly fighting with his cousin Max during the celebration for Rosh Hashanah, Beni discovers that the new year is an opportunity to put his mistakes behind him and start over.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, should be an occasion for a pleasant family gathering, but for young Beni, it means a visit with cousin Max, whose relentless misbehavior dampens the holiday mood. In a gentle tone that stresses the coziness of traditional Jewish family life, Zalben ( Beni's First Chanukah ) introduces readers to the sights, sounds and tastes of Rosh Hashanah. The bear family lights candles, hears the shofar at the synagogue and samples homemade rugelach and challah. Above all, the New Year's lesson of forgiveness is brought home when Beni's grandfather explains the ritual of Tashlikh, the casting of bread into moving water to symbolize the cleansing of sins. In the end, the squabbling cousins are able to reconcile their differences--for the time being--and start the New Year with a clean slate. Zalben's sweet-natured watercolor-and-pencil illustrations, in warm roses and golds, portray the festivities in inviting detail, from the table set with lace cloth and candles to the Torah scrolls and prayer shawls in the synagogue. A recipe for raisin challah, included here, might prove daunting to adults, much less children, but otherwise this book provides an excellent, age-appropriate introduction to a venerable celebration. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Another entry in Zalben's Jewish holiday series, featuring a neighborhood of gentle, anthropomorphic bears, charmingly rendered in detailed watercolor and colored-pencil paintings. An introduction to the meaning of Rosh Hashanah, the festival commemorating the new year and the beginning of the ``Days of Awe,'' during which Jewish people remember and repent their transgressions of the previous year, this story centers around minor arguments between Beni and Sara and their scrappy cousin Max. The children learn the traditions from their loving parents and grandparents who show, by example, how the ancient customs can help resolve their disputes. The portrayal of the family gathering and religious celebration is on target for young Jewish children and their non-Jewish counterparts, by both explaining important aspects of the holiday and affirming the universal value of these traditions.- Marcia Posner, Federation of New York and the Jewish Book Council, New York City
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805019612
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 9/15/1993
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.04 (w) x 7.82 (h) x 0.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Breskin Zalben is the author and illustrator of Holt's Jewish holiday picture-book series featuring Beni and his family. Ms. Zalben lives in Sands Point, New York, with her husband and two sons.

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