"Write what you know" is standard advice for authors, and Rabbi Ari Moffic knows about Rosh Hashanah and her kids. In her new children's book,
Love Remains: A Rosh Hashanah Story of Transformation
, she writes about a family and the changes they experience year by year.
At each Rosh Hashanah dinner, family members recount highlights from their previous year. Also, at each dinner, one child's clothing and hair change-and, as a teen, their name changes, too- from Danielle to Dan. This transition was based on that of one of Moffic's own children.
The author set the book at the time of the Jewish new year because, she said, "At Rosh Hashanah, everything starts fresh, and we decide who we want to be in the coming year."
Moffic is the new director of congregational learning at Temple Beth-El in Northbrook. She also founded CoHere Chicago, a service that curates Jewish experiences for families to fit their needs.
"I have wanted to tell this story for a long time, working on it for years," she said. "I hope that this book will help children see themselves represented, and accepted for who they are, and that it will be the starting point for conversations in families of all kinds."
Moffic co-wrote the book with Jessica Leving, a Chicago Jewish author. Last year, Leving published another children's book, this one based on her own family's experience, called
Billy's Sister: Life When Your Sibling has a Disability
"This book is for all Jewish families," said Leving, Executive Director of the Center for Siblings of People with Disabilities. "Kids of different ages will take different things from it. The beauty of Ari's idea is that this character's transition is one change among many- change is natural."
Teddi Garson, a genderqueer Jewish tattoo artist from Chicago, illustrated
. "Having dealt with the pressures of gender roles growing up, I felt this book was an important thing to be part of," Garson said. "I hope this book will help families start having conversations…that it's okay to be yourself."
"Being transgender can come with discrimination, fear, stress, sadness and frustration," Moffic said, "as well as joy, happiness, confidence, fluidity, and bravery."
Funding for the book was provided in part by The Open Dor Project. The book is recommended for children ages 3 and up.
is available on Amazon.com.