Under the Sabbath Lamp

  • Interest Level: Preschool - Grade 2
  • Reading Level: Grade 1

When Izzy and Olivia Bloom invite their neighbors over for Shabbat dinner, everyone is shocked to find out that the Blooms don’t have Shabbat candles. Instead, they have something much more unusual: an antique Sabbath lamp that’s been passed down from generation to generation. How did the Sabbath lamp get to America? That’s a good story . . .

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Interest Level Preschool - Grade 2
Reading Level Grade 1
Genre Picture Books, Social Studies
Copyright 2017
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Kar-Ben Publishing ®
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2017-01-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV033020, JUV017090
Dewey [Fic]
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 10.625 x 8.875
Lexile 840
Features Author/Illustrator note and Reviewed

Author: Michael Herman

Michael Herman has a passion for Jewish history and tradition and enjoys collecting antique Judaica. Every Friday evening he lights a 19th-century hanging Sabbath lamp of his own. Michael lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Illustrator: Alida Massari

Alida Massari is an Italian artist specializing in illustration for children. Born in Rome where she studied illustration at the European Institute of Design, she finds inspiration for her work from folk traditions and ancient art. She has illustrated many books, collaborating with Italian, English, German, and American publishers. She lives in Rome, Italy.


Jewish Book Council

“Izzy and Olivia Bloom, new to the neighborhood, have become everyone’s favorite Shabbat dinner guests. Eventually, the Blooms have an opportunity to host all of their new friends for Shabbat dinner. The table is beautifully set, but where are the Shabbat candles? Mystified, the guests watch as Izzy lowers a brass star-shaped chandelier from the ceiling. Olivia fills it with olive oil, places a wick in each of the stars, lights the wicks, and says the blessing. Under the light of the lamp, Izzy tells how his great-great-great grandfather took one part of the lamp with him when he set sail for America. As each family member made the journey to join him, they brought another part of the lamp. When the family was whole again, so was the Sabbath lamp, which once again cast its glow over the reassembled family.

The author, a collector of antique Judaica, includes a photograph of his own 19th century hanging Sabbath oil lamp, which he lights every Sabbath. The charming illustrations are bathed in a golden light, and the folk art style is as fitting for depicting the peasant scenes from long ago as those of today. Highly recommended for ages 3-8.”—Jewish Book Council

Publishers Weekly

“Izzy and Olivia Bloom, a charming older couple, are welcomed into their new neighbors’ homes for Shabbat dinners, and then host a Friday night dinner of their own. But when the guests arrive, they’re puzzled to find that the Blooms don’t own a pair of Shabbat candlesticks; instead the Blooms have an old and beautiful star-shaped Shabbat lamp, which hangs from ceiling and burns olive oil. The story behind the lamp, shared by Izzy, encompasses shtetl life, the Jewish immigrant experience, and one family’s determination ‘to be whole again’ after a long separation; it also prompts the Blooms’ guests to appreciate anew their own cherished Shabbat artifacts. ‘We’ve all inherited treasures,’ Izzy observes. Herman, making his debut, builds a lovely tale around an unusual piece of Judaica (further explained in an afterword) and a close-knit community of Jewish families where Shabbat is an essential part of the week, joyfully observed and shared. The golden hues of Massari’s images reflect both the light of the Shabbat lamp and the generous emotional warmth radiating from her characters and their inviting homes.”—Publishers Weekly