By COLlive reporter
How many authors do you know under Bar Mitzvah? Morristown now boasts 10 such writers.
Available for sale on Amazon, “The Missing Principal” (CreateSpace, 88 pages) was written and published by 4th graders of Cheder Lubavitch Morristown, led by Rabbi Yossi Zeidman.
In “The Missing Principal”, Mendy gets a mysterious call from Rabbi Friedman, his principal. Mendy rushes to the school at night to find his principal has just gone missing! Every classroom he goes into brings Mendy to a different time period in Jewish history.
The scenes are based on subjects each grade is learning about. He meets Avraham in Kita Beis’s classroom, Dovid HaMelech in Kita Vov’s classroom, and so on. Mendy must search for his principal, and find his own way back home. Did Golias have something to do with Rabbi Friedman’s disappearance? Was it Nimrod?
Rabbi Zeidman enthusiastically explains the “Choose Your Own Story” description of the book. “I wanted to give each boy a chance to write in his own style and include his own ideas. In each chapter there are choices for the reader to make. Should Mendy trust the man he is speaking to? Should he try a different classroom? There are a number of different endings and many variations to the story. It makes it exciting. Each time you pick it up, it’s a different adventure!”
The first pages were written by their teacher, but the bulk of the book was written by the 10 boys in the class.
This year, Rabbi Zeidman took on additional duties to teach Limmudei Chol as well as his Limmudei Kodesh subjects.
“The Limmudei Chol program is four hours a week for my class. In that time, we learn math, spelling, and writing. What we miss in quantity of time, I try to make up in the quality of what we do,” Rabbi Zeidman told COLlive.
He tries to incorporate Yiddishe subjects and values as much as he can.
Why write a book?
Students at Cheder Lubavitch Morristown have an affinity to reading, due in large part to the Cheder Library, run by Mrs. Eisenberg, a school teacher. Students can browse through over 2,000 Jewish books to check out each week.
“At the beginning of the year we worked on basic sentence structure. We then progressed to writing paragraphs and essays. I like when kids have something tangible they can take away from our learning. For Mishnayos, for example, I give out a DVD with animations we made. This way, they will remember our learning for many years. For English, I wanted each student to take home a portfolio of their work. Writing your own book is something extraordinary and exciting. It’s a great way to show a student’s work. Most importantly, it gives them a real boost in confidence for their writing skills.”
Why the low price point?
“Our first priority is to make the book easily accessible to friends and family. The profits will go to classroom supplies, but the margin is low. This was not meant to be a fundraiser,” Rabbi Zeidman says.
“If people want to contribute to our school, which I strongly encourage, their money will be more effective if they donate directly.”
The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive for the class and the school.
“When Kita Daled told me they were writing a book, I first thought it was something small to be shared in class,” said the principal Rabbi Aharon Wilschanski.
“As the project came together, I was very impressed with the professional quality. I’ve heard from many amazed and appreciative parents. A big yasher koach to Kita Daled, especially for using Koidesh in the Limmudei Chol program.”
Get the book on Amazon.com.