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Title: Good Luck on Your Test
Author: Rebecca Perlowitz
Publisher: Mosaica Press

 

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We’ve all been there. Smack in the middle of one of those days where nothing seems to be going right. You miss your bus, you tear your new shirt, you get chewed out by your boss… and you grumble to yourself, “Why did I even bother waking up this morning?”

Like most life challenges, the earlier we receive the tools to deal with frustrating experiences, the better equipped we’ll be at test time. In her charming new book, Good Luck on Your Test, Rebecca Perlowitz begins to lay this foundation of optimism and resiliency by teaching children how to approach frustration and disappointment. An early childhood educator of many years, “Morah Becky” understands both the message and the medium that children need to most effectively learn life’s lessons.

Written in an upbeat rhyme, Good Luck on Your Test tells the story of David Delight, a young boy who wakes up one morning with a funny feeling that things just won’t go right for him today. It doesn’t help that he has a math test later in the day, a subject that is not his forte. And, indeed, throughout this miserable day, one thing after another keeps going wrong. His shirt is stained, his knapsack tears on the way to school, he comes late and has to sit out part of recess, his homework and lunch are missing – having fallen out through the hole in his knapsack. Even his socks are mismatched.

And through it all runs the refrain “Good luck on your test,” as everyone wishes him success on the upcoming math exam.

David Delight does not allow himself to succumb to these challenges. Rather than throwing in the towel, getting angry and frustrated, he looks up to Heaven and declares, “I trust You… You know what I need!/ You run this whole world, to the tiniest seed./ And if I am meant to have a hard day/ You’re here by my side along the whole way.”

Remaining firm in his conviction that “It’s all for the best,” David goes on to take his math exam. While perhaps unexpected, but certainly true to life, he does not ace the test – sadly, if you’re not a math person, you’re just not a math person. But as he comes home and relays to his mother the days’ woes, the child reader discovers that the real test was not the math exam after all, but how he reacted to each of the day’s setbacks.

“So David Delight” – says his mother – “It’s all for the best. And oh, by the way, you passed Hashem’s Test!”

The motto “It’s all for the best” is a lesson in emunah both simple and profound. In order to help the children assimilate this message into their daily lives, Morah Becky provides a list of exercises and suggested activities at the back of the book.

Morah Becky describes her own foray into the world of Jewish children’s literature as a lesson in emunah and Siyata Dishmaya (help from Above). “I’d always enjoyed writing, and I would sometimes write books for the children in my preschool. I got great feedback from the mothers, who encouraged me to publish them.”

Then, an incident happened in the community which prompted her to write a book on the theme of achdut, and loving your fellow Jew. Shortly after, she heard about a writing contest run by The Areyvut Project, which was looking for books on exactly that theme. She decided to submit her manuscript – and won.

“That’s how my first book, In My Family, was published,” she says.

Morah Becky writes specifically about themes that she feels strongly about, such as achdut, emunah, and longing for the geula. “These are all themes that should be part of the foundation of a Jewish home, and of our children’s educations,” she says. “But I don’t see them addressed often in children’s literature.”

Morah Becky sees her books in the context of her education work, as part of a larger mission to instill these values in the younger generation.

To that end, in preparation for her third book, called I’m Waiting, she launched the Geula Project, in which she asked children in schools and camps in Israel and the U.S. to send in drawings or writings describing what they can do to bring the geula, or “what the geula looks like to me.” At least five of these entries will be printed in the back of the book. They can all be viewed on her website www.morahbecky.com.

Morah Becky feels so privileged to be able to spread timeless Jewish values through her writing. “Parents have told me that the line ‘It’s all for the best, and oh by the way good luck on your test’ has become a refrain in their home,” she says, adding that adults will also tell her how much the book touched them as well.

“I think the message of having emunah when faced with challenges is something that hits home for everyone, big and small.”

 

“Good Luck on Your Test” and ”I’m Waiting” can be ordered online at www.morahbecky.com or purchased wherever Feldheim books are sold.

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Gila Arnold is a speech therapist and a journalist who writes frequently for The Jewish Press and other publications. She and her family live in Ramat Beit Shemesh.