Book Review: Tashlich at Turtle Rock

Tashlich at Turtle Rock

Written by Susan Schnur and Anna Schnur-Fishman and illustrated by Alex Steele-Morgan (Kar-Ben, 2010)

I have been interested in stories about Tashlich since a Gentile magazine editor, married to a Jew, told me that since her husband didn’t perform Tashlich the way I described in my story, my story wasn’t valid. Last year, I was delighted to see April Heilprin Wayland’s New Year at the Pier and that there were clearly editors willing to see different approaches.

This year’s addition to the diversity of experience is Tashlich at Turtle Rock.

The good stuff

  • Inspiring–After reading this story, I felt truly inspired to think about the things I’m grateful for, the things I want to toss away, and the things I hope for in the new year. I can’t wait for next week to find my own ways for Tashlich!
  • Total family involvement–The Tashlich I’ve personally experienced has always been with a rabbi-led group of people going to the local river. In Tashlich at Turtle Rock, the family performs Tashlich together in an annual ritual. I love this! For example, this year it’s Link’s turn to take charge and he decides to start at Turtle Rock instead of the usual Old Log.
  • Diversity of experience–While people may celebrate Rosh Hashonah in different ways and perform Tashlich in different ways, it’s clear in the telling of this story that diversity is welcomed and respected.
  • Light-handed–The authors explain the ceremony and the traditions in a way that doesn’t feel didactic or overbearing.
  • Simple but effective–This is a heartfelt story simply told. It doesn’t need embellishments to be meaningful or inspiring.
  • Author’s note–I particularly like the way the authors address their own experiences and describe some of the variety of ways to perform the tashlich ceremony.

The not-so-good stuff

I only have one comment here: the family actually went to four places and one of them was Turtle Rock. Could there have been a way to tie the four places together with a single alliterative descriptor?

Overall

Rating: 4.7 out of 5.0!

Submitted September 2010

About Barbara Krasner

History writer and award-winning author Barbara Krasner writes Jewish-themed poetry, articles, nonfiction books, and novels for children and adults.
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5 Responses to Book Review: Tashlich at Turtle Rock

  1. Reva Solomon says:

    also check out my friend’s book children’s picture book: “New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashannah Story by April Halprin Wayland illustrated by Stephane Jorisch – 5 stars on Amazon and selling really well –

  2. jewwishes says:

    Your review is wonderful, and it sounds as if the book brings a new light to Tashlich.

  3. Heidi Estrin says:

    Excellent review, Barbara. I used this book for Junior Congregation services this year and it worked beautifully. It made for very interactive reading because we kept stopping to come up with our own ideas of what we’d keep from last year, get rid of from last year, or promise to do this year, before continuing the story to see what the characters said. A great addition to the Jewish kidlit bookshelf.

  4. Heidi Estrin says:

    Oh, and thanks for sharing this post on the September 2010 Jewish Book Carnival!

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