In Jerusalem’s Old City, a Jewish boy named Avi and Hamudi, who is Muslim, both feed the same street cat. One day the cat doesn’t come for her dinner. When she finally reappears, Avi follows her -- straight to Hamudi. At first the two squabble over which of them the cat belongs to, but when she runs away again and it starts to snow, the boys put their differences aside and join forces to help keep her safe in the cold.
Five- and six-year-old subscribers will relate to Avi and Hamudi’s initial unwillingness to share. Kids and their parents will enjoy the satisfying ending, as the boys decide to focus on what they have in common rather than what divides them. Of course, on a deeper level, the story expresses a wish for peace in Israel, and families may take the opportunity to move the discussion in that direction.
There’s much more to look at and think about here, too. Families might talk about the important Jewish value tza'ar ba'alei chayim, which not only prohibits us from causing cruelty to animals; it requires us to actively treat them with compassion. Children might notice that Avi wears a kippah, and parents can point out that he uses the Orthodox term for God, Hashem (literally “the name”), as part of a discussion about the observances and traditions in their own family.
Last, but certainly not least, are the stunning illustrations by an award-winning husband and wife team. The warm glow of Jerusalem stone, the bustling alleyways and the diverse population of the Old City are all brought to life in evocative watercolour paintings that give a real flavour of Jerusalem – especially important for those unable to be there in person on Yom Ha’atzmaut!
April 12, 2018