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The Bedtime Sh'ma: A Good Night Book Review by Jacque Dixon

By Sarah Gershman
EKS Publishing Co.
322 Castro St.
Oakland, CA 94607

"You shall say these words...when you lie down and when you rise."

The Bedtime Sh'ma: A Good Night Book is a bedtime story book for children. It is a beautifully illustrated softcover book that is based on the Jewish good night book Kriat Sh'ma al haMitah. It is a collection of psalms, prayers, and poems based on themes of protection and readying one's self for sleep.

The author has done two things in telling the story of the Sh'ma. She has interpreted the liturgical meanings of the Sh'ma, and she has illustrated them in beautiful sketches, knowing that there is a real fear of the dark for many children. She uses these pictures and the story to encourage them to rest and sleep at ease.

My children love to be read to, and I love to use stories of faith and character when we read to them. Because our family has been particularly interested in the Jewish faith as it relates to our faith in the Bible, I was able to use this book to bring the Jewish prayer Sh'ma to life and explain some of what they believe and their cultural practices.

The back of the book includes the full text of the Kriat Sh'ma al haMitah in English and in Hebrew. It has good information about the Jewish bedtime Sh'ma and would work as a supplement to Jewish study or just as a little history lesson of the Sh'ma itself.

One thing that I noticed is that there are illustrations in it that have a spiritual appearance, and you, as the parent, may want to give your own beliefs on those.

This bedtime storybook is a useful product for homeschool families who would like to learn about the Hebrew and Jewish culture or would just like a very child-friendly bedtime story to help their children drift off to sleep. I was very pleased to be able to use this resource.

Product review by Jacque Dixon, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October 2008