The book is the first installment of the “In Our Tradition” series.
By Allison Joyner
Friends and authors Candace Bazemore and Gabby Spatt grew up in two different households: one in a Black Christian home in Virginia and the other in a Jewish home in South Florida.
The two would not have met if it wasn’t for their love of volunteerism with the Junior League of Atlanta and the American Jewish Committee’s Atlanta Black/Jewish Coalition. Now they’ve joined forces to bring people together in their new book, “Shabbat and Sunday Dinner: In Our Tradition.”
The book, for children ages five through nine, follows a school assignment for two students, David and Malcolm, regarding family traditions.
“The topic they decided to speak on was family dinner traditions. The book follows the boys as they put together their presentation and then present it to the class,” said Bazemore.
In the presentation, David shares his favorite side dish from Shabbat — the Jewish traditional dinner — Challah bread, and Malcolm shares his favorite, fried cornbread.
“We highlight how the dinner table is a special place that can bring people’s ideas and cultures together,” said Spatt.
The Jewish and Black communities in Atlanta have supported each other for decades in a formal capacity. In support of renewing the Voting Rights Act in 1982, the Atlanta Black/Jewish Coalition formed with then-city councilman John Lewis serving as co-chair.
Today, the organization serves the metro Atlanta area as a platform for education, outreach and advocacy with the mission of providing a forum for meaningful dialogue and action.
Bazemore and Spatt told SaportaReport that the concept for the book came while they were planning an event for the coalition’s Project Understanding program. The two were taught how to maintain the relationship between Blacks and the Jewish community into the next generation.
With school systems restricting the teaching of certain types of historical traditions and events throughout the U.S., Bazemore knew that it was significant to write this book for young people.
“I get concerned when [books] are being taken out of schools and kids being discouraged from learning about different cultures and communities,” Bazemore said. “I think this is a way to do it in a way that doesn’t make people feel bad about their community.”
In addition to writing conversation prompts for future dinner gatherings, the writers added recipes for the dishes for families to try after reading.
“We also include educational information in the back explaining the history of Black and Jewish relations, which should encourage kids and families to learn more,” Bazemore said.
“Shabbat and Sunday Dinner: In Our Tradition” is now available on Amazon.
Thank you. I love that they are showing our young kids to appreciate other cultures. Amazing work from our Junior League members.
Leave a comment