Despite the plethora of books and materials available in the messianic marketplace, materials for children of Jewish believing families are still sparse and slow to emerge. Enter Walk With Yeshua Through the Jewish Year, by Janie-sue Wertheim and Kathy Shapiro, a fun, 72-page guide for children ages seven and up. It presents the Jewish holidays “in ways that teach…children about the Lord and (their) rich heritage…within a messianic context.”
To give you an idea of the format for a typical chapter, look at the authors’ suggestions for celebrating the feast of Purim (which falls on March 1). First, the biblical background is presented in an easy-to-understand manner: “…Esther was a real-life Cinderella; an everyday girl who ended up marrying a king. Evil Haman (boo!) was a powerful big shot who wanted to destroy the Jewish people, all because Mordecai would not bow to him…” (page 41). The “Digging Deeper” section (in each chapter) gives practical applications for the child to consider: “The things that God asks you to do are not as scary as going in front of a king, much less dying on the cross! Still, God does ask us to do things that call for us to be brave…” (page 42).
The “Exploring Scripture” section asks questions from both Bible passages about the holidays as well as other related Scriptures. “Our Traditions” offers suggestions on the ways Jewish people celebrate the holiday: “When God delivered us on that first Purim, Mordecai sent letters to Jewish people near and far telling them to celebrate…Today, Jewish people make and send Shalach manot baskets of food and other goodies as a way to give gifts” (page 43). (Editor’s note: You could even include a copy of this book in your basket for a friend!)
There are further “Celebration Ideas,” such as having a Purim family outreach where friends and neighbors are invited in to hear the Bible story presented as a clear story to God’s love and faithfulness. Practical suggestions, along with shopping and how-to-plan lists, are included in each chapter.
This book is a lifesaver for the busy messianic family or congregation that wants to celebrate the Jewish feasts in a timely, meaningful and enjoyable manner. The authors’ aim is to see “your little ones fascinated with the Bible, reading Scriptures on their own…(through) creative ways to make the verses live in (their) hearts…As your children work through these holiday activities, their understanding of God’s Word will deepen and your family will be enriched.”