Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Book Review: 'My Magical Kippah' by Kandi Siegel
Florida author Kandi M. Siegel has eleven books published to date – some having won prestigious awards (MY SUMMER TRIUMPH and A DOG FOR LEO) in addition to LOOKING BACK NO REGRETS, RAINBOW OF MINE, SAMMY THE HELPER, BUBBY THE BAKER, COOKING WITH KANDI, THE FOREVER ROSE, MY HIGH SCHOOL CRUSH, OH DREIDEL I SHALL PLAY, and now MY MAGICAL KIPPAH.
For those who may not know the term, a ‘kippah’ is another term for a yarmulke – the round cloth cap worn by Jews. And presenting that little fact is indicative of the importance of this little well written book: the more we all know about each others customs and traditions and beliefs the more we can appreciate individuality as well as similarities.
Kandi begins her story with a moment of importance in the Introduction – ‘The Bar Mitzvah Day -“Baruch atah Adonoi,” Avram nervously chanted the prayer over the Torah, as he gazed over at his aging grandfather who was sitting in the front row. Avram’s grandfather, Shmuel Goldstein, was an elderly man but had all of his senses, his own teeth and a full head of hair. Actually, for a man of 75, he was doing quite well. He was all decked out in his brand-new navy blue suit, smiling from ear to ear, feeling so proud, as he sat in his usual seat, first chair, second row on the left side of the Temple, watching his grandson become a Bar Mitzvah. Standing at the bimah, with the Rabbi by his side, Avram reflected on everything that had happened over the past twelve months, and how he was so tempted to cancel his Bar Mitzvah. Tears welled up in his eyes as he readjusted the kippah on his head thinking to himself, “This really is a magical kippah.”
And so begins a story that will appeal to both youngsters through young adults and adults of all ages. This is a beautifully rendered coming of age story with the additional focus on the religious aspect – the Bar Mitzvah. ‘September 10, 2017, after six years of Hebrew school training, Avram and his parents had their long-awaited appointment with the Rabbi to pick a date for Avram’s upcoming Bar Mitzvah. As they waited in the reception area to be called in to the Rabbi’s office, Avram’s parents, Hannah and Shlomo Goldstein, were already discussing the particulars. Guest list, who will cater the party, which band to hire, etc. All very important details to the parents of the Bar Mitzvah child. The only detail that was important to the Bar Mitzvah boy was to not mess up while reciting all the prayers in front of the entire congregation. Avram, who was small in stature for a 12- year-old, fidgeted in his chair as he twirled the ends of his long brown hair that cascaded over his ears and covered the back of his neck. Avram loved his long, thick brown hair, though his dad has been insisting on cutting it short for his Bar Mitzvah.’
Kandi opens the window on the influence of Hebrew school, the combined fear and expectation of going through this coming out ceremony, and makes it into a touching tale of a family – and generations and folklore and tradition – and brings all of that into the moment of a young twelve year old lad who makes it into manhood with his gift of a magical kippah. Tender, humorous, education and entertaining, this is a story by a very fine author to be appreciated on many levels. Recommended. Grady Harp, October 18
This book is free to borrow from Kindle Unlimited
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.