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Friday Night with the Pope

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Friday Night with the Pope

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Friday Night with the Pope
By Jacques J. M. Shore
Illustrated by Amalia Hoffman
Gefen Publishing House: Jerusalem and New York, (2006)
ISBN: 965-229-370-9

Reviewed by Simone Bonim - January 25, 2007

Friday Night with the Pope is the second children's book written by Jacques J. M. Shore. His first children's book was the award winning, Menorah in the Night Sky. As an adult, Shore, who is an attorney, and his mother Lena, a Holocaust survivor, actually met with Pope John Paul II. Working from this real life event, Shore has crafted a compelling story for children about eleven-year-old Jacob and his mother Lena who were invited to have a Shabbat dinner with Pope John Paul II.

Entertaining and educational, this book is well suited for new readers, and as a read aloud book. Although technically a children's book, this story will also delight adults. The text is printed in a 14-point font. This larger than normal font size will help to make it easier for new readers to decipher unfamiliar words. Friday Night with the Pope is a charming book about inter-faith relations, and it is wonderfully illustrated by Amalia Hoffman. Her illustrations are warm and inviting, offering the opportunity for younger readers to follow the story from the pictures alone.

Within the body of the story presented in Friday Night with the Pope, Shore talks briefly about the steps that Pope John Paul II has taken to improve Jewish - Catholic relations, and he explains a bit about the Pope's history and his teaching about unity. He also discusses some of the aspects of the Shabbat dinner by having Jacob recite the Kiddush. This is all done without being preachy, or pushing the religious elements of the story. Rather what comes across in this story is that the Pope was a pleasant man, who sincerely wanted to encourage peace and unity among all people. For ages 5-9.

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