ALMOST A MINYAN
LORI S. KLINE
ARTWORK BY SUSAN SIMON
Genre: Picture Book / Jewish Traditions
Date of Publication: April 5, 2017
Number of Pages: 40
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Will she be the one to take Grandfather’s place?
According to Jewish tradition, a quorum of ten adults is required for public worship. Almost a Minyan traces the story of a young girl whose father and grandfather are regular participants in the town’s minyan – until her beloved Zayde passes on.
Without him, it is even harder for her father to find enough people to make a minyan. Then one day, he brings Zayde’s tefillin to his eldest daughter. A striking new addition to the diverse books movement, Almost a Minyan shares important Hebrew terms and religious concepts through a compelling and beautifully illustrated story for children.
PRAISE FOR ALMOST A MINYAN
“A warmhearted introduction to coming-of-age in a worship community.” Kirkus Reviews
“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, CT Founder of the Women Cantors’ Network
“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
What was your inspiration for writing Almost a Minyan? Moving to Austin, where there was often difficult to gather the complete 10 Jewish adults to “make a minyan,”–from the large city of Pittsburgh, PA—where there are several morning minyans daily, gave me pause, as well as concern that we would lose our opportunity to transmit out traditions to our next generations.
What can you share with readers about minyans and Jewish traditions? I would say that, “community” is one of the basic pillars of the Jewish religion. Minyanim (plural of, “minyan”) require a gathering of 10 adult Jews in order to recite prayers. These prayers remind us and bind us to each other and as a community. Also, many of our traditions rely on gathering and engaging with each other. Our Tradition is replete with customs in which together we pray, celebrate, study, mourn and work together toward social justice.
What cultural value do you see in storytelling?
Stories serve as a natural means of transmitting traditions and values. Nearly no one I know likes being told what to do, but in a story, one can glean…from the characters.
Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
I have the luxury of writing when the inspiration hits me, and socking away a manuscript for months or even years before rousing it from slumber. This gives me a chance to step back from the writing and its cadence and more objectively read it. I imagine that my life experiences over time also affect the manner in which my stories evolve into their final form.
What book do you wish you could have written?
Anything by Dr. Seuss.
What is something you want to accomplish before you die?
Lie on the beach in Hawaii, sipping a drink garnished with a paper umbrella, breathing in the ocean air and listening to the rhythm of the waves.
Do you have a mantra for writing and/or for life?
“Yes, you can.”
Lori Sales Kline heralds from Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, PA, which hosts a wonderfully rich Jewish community that fueled her love for Jewish tradition, ritual and practice at home and at, “the shul.” Following her undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Texas in Austin, Lori chose to make Austin her home, largely due to the spiritual connection she felt in the close-knit Austin Jewish community. In her spare time, Lori enjoys camping, celebrating Judaism with her husband and son, and friends. She previously authored the children’s picture book, Josiah’s Dreams.
Artist Susan Simon
One Signed Copy of Almost A Minyan
March 24-April 7, 2017
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