After six years, three editors, rewrites, more hours of photo research than I ever dreamed possible, and a hefty yet worthy debate over the implications of using the word Shabbos, Shabbat or Sabbath, my children’s book — I Love Jewish Faces — has been published! Two slim copies arrived via plain old USPS but it felt as if they’d been delivered by six white horses drawing a glass carriage.
Holding one’s book for the first time is akin to holding one’s newborn, minus the crazy breathing and the episiotomy. Nothing matches those first few minutes when you savor the text, reading words pulled eons ago from your brain, heart and gut, alive now on the pages — pages beautifully illustrated by someone who understood how to take your vision and make it real.
You are grateful beyond belief — grateful for that moment of inspiration, grateful for the friends and family who listened to you go on and on and still encouraged you, grateful for the editor who believed in you and your story and said when he met you that he couldn’t wait to read your book to his son.
And what is the story of I Love Jewish Faces? What are these ninety-four words and thirty photos about? Two words — Jewish diversity. The Jewish faces in this book are peach and white; they are light brown and dark brown; they come from places as near as New York and as far away as Tunisia. They are brunette and blonde, old and young, brown-eyed, blue-eyed and almond eyed.
I cannot say I set out to write this book out of a burning desire to broadcast a message of Jewish diversity. I can say that when the idea of it nudged me, I knew its message had to get out there — kids adopted from other countries need to see themselves and their families in their Jewish books. The Jewish community needs reminding, too, that Jews come from all “races and places.”
I will be speaking at the Detroit Jewish Book Fair on November 8, in Ann Arbor and at the New Haven Jewish Center in Woodbridge, CT on Nov. 3. Bring your children and grandchildren. Or borrow one for the afternoon. You can read an excerpt from the book by clicking here. Enjoy!