How can our sacred institutions preserve tradition while retaining the flexibility to accommodate modern life? And how do you fold that theme into a lively kids’ book?
Almost a Minyan, the latest offering from Austin’s Sociosights Press, brings children into the world of a loving daughter and granddaughter whose family stays connected to each other and to the past through sacred ritual. The book is a multi-generational love story for Jewish traditions.
In a story that will appeal equally to people familiar with its Yiddish phrases and Jewish traditions and those interested in increasing their cultural understanding, Almost a Minyan subtly handles some of the practices and controversies of modern Judaism. Can women and girls be part of the sacred minyan for public worship?
This spirited story, brought to life with touching and reverent illustrations by Susan Simon, is a sure bet for young readers.
“A warmhearted introduction to coming-of-age in a worship community." — Kirkus Reviews
“Almost a Minyan” will mean a lot to Jewishly observant egalitarian families, especially those who remember the days when women couldn’t count in a minyan. I appreciated the illustrations, how inclusive and varied the faces.” — Letty Cottin Pogrebin, founding editor, Ms. Magazine
“Together Kline and Simon have crafted a book about Jewish life that is accessible, thoughtful, and memorable. Children will enjoy being carried away by the illustrations and rhyming language. Parents and educators will appreciate the detail and opportunity to share pictures and words that reflect the richness of Jewish ritual and community. It is well worth a look by librarians and community organizations who seek to add cultural diversity to their children’s collections. All told, Almost a Minyan is a solid example of children’s literature that will give readers the ultimate gift – the opportunity to create memories of learning together.” — Rabbi Deborah Miller, booksandblintzes.com
“A story of inclusion, belonging and equality. I loved the modern, egalitarian, and traditional values shared in this meaningful story. This is a wonderful modern story for our children and grandchildren!" — Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray, Congregation Shir Shalom, Ridgefield, CT, founder of the Women Cantors' Network
“Almost a Minyan” with words by Lori S. Kline is a delightful children’s book that will have special appeal for girls and their brothers in Jewish households across the spectrum from Orthodox to secular. The captivating multicultural artwork by Susan Simon raises the bar of humanity for all of us. I know exactly which family I am going to give it to.” — Susan Brownmiller, feminist author and activist
“You had me at kibitz,” — Rabbi Micah Hyman, former rabbi, Beth Sholom, San Francisco
“A delightful read for girls and boys alike, this poetic family tale brings a wonderful sentimentality to daily Jewish prayers. Moreover, the beauty of the illustrations contributes additional warmth to this snapshot of Jewish life. A nice addition for all libraries and all ages.” — Rabbi Jimmy Kessler, DHL, DD Congregation B’nai Israel, Galveston
“A beautiful coming-of-age story for the 21st century, reminding us of the power of tradition, community, and memory. A welcome addition to the bookshelves of families, educators and rabbis looking for a children's book that will inspire the next generation to be part of a Jewish community not only because of its sweet text but also because of the inclusive nature this community illustrates.” — Rabbi Gail Swedroe, Assistant Rabbi Congregation Agudas Achim, Austin
Lori S. Kline
Lori S. Kline lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and son. She regularly attends minyan at Congregation Agudas Achim, where she chants Torah and teaches Hebrew. Her first book, Josiah’s Dreams, was released in 2014.
Illustrated by Susan Simon