Almost a Minyan THE MAKING OF A SOCIAL CHANGE MOVEMENT

Published by Sociosights Press.

Lori Kline and I go to shul together. One day at kiddish luncheon, she asked if I would help her. "I've written a children's book," she said, "and I need advice on getting a publisher." She knew I'd published several award-winning books, including, "There's Jews in Texas?" and had a bit of a track record in book selling.

Lori S. Kline, Author Susan Simon, Illustrator Debra L. Winegarten, Publisher

"Sure," I said, and we arranged a time for her to come over my house. Before she arrived, I had a long talk with myself. "Debster," I told myself, "no matter what she brings over, you are NOT publishing it. You have way too much to do. Send her to Kar-Ben, the largest Jewish children's book publisher in the US, they'll take good care of her. With my plan firmly in place, she arrived at the appointed time. When I opened the front door, she pointed at the cat watering dish on the porch and asked if I had cats. "I do," I replied, and it dawned on me, "are you allergic?" "Emergency room allergic, ICU allergic," she said. "Emergency room allergic, ICU allergic," she said. "Did you look at the manuscript I sent?" she asked.

I hadn't, and while she ran inside, holding her breath to use the bathroom, I read the email file she sent. When she came back outside, I was crying. Before I even thought about what I was saying, I blurted out, "I'll publish this, I'll give you a contract right here on the spot!" And so, "Almost a Minyan" went from an idea on a piece of paper into a new project for my company, Sociosights Press.

The Work Begins

Stuff here about meeting Susan and hiring her to do the illustrations. Decisions about the look of the book, the look of the family, and discussion about the little girl. More copy goes here copy here More copy goes here More copy goes here.

A Loving, Inclusive Community

xioh kdjf ise rnvi s dvi esn vdsi vhs ifvna ies nvd sivhs ifvn amsnfeiu hbv fd nvjnvi eyf efn sdv n ue fuw esif vn amsnfeiuhbv fdn vjnv ie yfe fnsd vnue fu web kdfvn;xioh kdjf ise rnvi s dvi esn vdsi vhs ifvna ies nvd sivhs ifvn amsnfeiu hbv fd nvjnvi eyf efn sdv n ue fuw ebkdfvn;xioh kdjfisernv is dvie snvd si vh sifv nam snf eiuhbv fd nvj nvie yfefn sdvnuef uwe bk dfv nvj nvie yfefn sdvnuef uwe bknvj nvie yfefn sdvnuef uwe bk dfv sdvnuef uwe bknvjsdvnuef uwe bk

It's All About Girls

xioh kdjf ise rnvi s dvi esn vdsi vhs ifvna ies nvd sivhs ifvn amsnfeiu hbv fd nvjnvi eyf efn sdv n ue fuw esif vn amsnfeiuhbv fdn vjnv ie yfe fnsd vnue fu web kdfvn;xioh kdjf ise rnvi s dvi esn vdsi vhs ifvna ies nvd sivhs ifvn amsnfeiu hbv fd nvjnvi eyf efn sdv n ue fuw ebkdfvn;xioh kdjfisernv is dvie snvd si vh sifv nam snf eiuhbv fd nvj nvie yfefn sdvnuef uwe bk dfv nvj nvie yfefn sdvnuef uwe bknvj nvie yfefn sdvnuef uwe bk dfv sdvnuef uwe bknvjsdvnuef uwe bk

Caption Here Caption Here
Caption Goes Here

People Love this Book

In this illustrated, rhyming children’s book, a nearly 13-year-old Jewish girl portrays her family and religious traditions as she readies to join a minyan.

The unnamed girl who narrates this story lives in a town with only one shul (synagogue) that isn’t always full, so forming a minyan—a group of 10 adults, required in Judaism to make a quorum for communal worship—can sometimes be difficult. The girl’s father goes to the shul every morning with his worn tallis, a prayer shawl, and his tefillin, a set of leather boxes containing scrolls with verses from the Torah. (The book includes a glossary that defines words that may be unfamiliar.) But sometimes there are not quite enough people to form a minyan, so the girl looks forward to joining it when she’s old enough in less than a year. The girl explains more about the shul and the prayers, and how her zayde (grandfather) joins the family on Shabbos (the Sabbath day, which starts on Friday night) before going to the shul with her father. When her zayde dies, people gather at the house, making another minyan for prayers. One morning, the girl’s father announces that it’s time for her to join. She protests she’s too young, but “ ‘Your Hebrew birthday,’ he said with a smile, / ‘began at sundown—it’s been here awhile!’ ” Her father allays her anxieties and gives her zayde’s tallis and tefillin. At last, “Papa smiled proudly—he teared up again. / Then, grinning, he told me, ‘Today, you make ten.’ ” Kline (Josiah’s Dreams, 2014) portrays the girl’s coming-of-age and her being counted among her shul’s adults with great warmth, and also highlights her closeness to beloved Papa. The girl’s mother plays almost no role in the story, which is a little puzzling, but the shul looks joyful, with Simon’s (No Rules for Michael, 2003, etc.) illustrations showing a kind, friendly, welcoming community with the people drawn in comfortably rounded shapes; in appearance, they appear to come from diverse Ashkenazi and Sephardic backgrounds. However, the highlights on the girl’s dark hair make it look gray and elderly, which may be confusing. Also, the usual young audience for a picture book doesn’t seem best suited for a tween’s story.

A warmhearted introduction to coming-of-age in a worship community.

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.