Editorial Review

Association of Jewish Libraries

Cover: The Family with Two Front Doors

“How can a family have two front doors? Easy – if they live in 1920s Lublin, Poland, have nine children, and need two apartments – one to live in, the other in which the rabbi/father studies and conducts business. Based on Ciddor’s grandmother Nomi’s reminiscences, this historical fiction hearkens back to a more innocent time. Nothing is mentioned about the aftermath of World War I. Except for two instances of anti-Semitism, we have little foreshadowing of the Holocaust. The main event that occurs in this prosperous Orthodox Jewish family’s life is the betrothal and marriage of the eldest daughter, Adina, to a man she’s never met. No less important than the impending marriage are the preparations, rituals, and joys of Shabbos. The novel abounds with small problems: Will ten-year-old Nomi be able to make the gefilte fish all by herself? Can Yakov carry home a heavy carp without help? Will everyone board the train on time for a picnic in the country? Not to worry. Every problem is resolved neatly. At first, it might be difficult for the reader to differentiate between the many characters, but Ciddor skillfully emphasizes one trait for each person. For example, Yacov is mischievous, Nomi is curious, and Shlomo is studious (to a fault). To help the reader, Ciddor has illustrated a lively ‘family portrait’ at the front of the book, where each person’s name and age are given. A third-person narrator tells the story, but we see the events mainly through the perspective of Nomi and Yakov. Ciddor is knowledgeable about Orthodox Jewish rituals and customs, adding authenticity to the telling. The sensory details such as ‘The air smelled of warm hay and ripe plums’ add to the enjoyment of this story. The back matter includes a useful glossary. The novel is sure to please the Orthodox Jewish reader, or anyone who likes a wholesome story about a loving family.” – Association of Jewish Libraries

Products Reviewed

The Family with Two Front Doors
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