Writer pens Etrog mystery for Succot

Jay Grenby
21 September 2010
The Jewish Chronicle

Prolific author and broadcaster Rabbi Pete Tobias has made a first foray into the realm of children’s books with the publication of The Secret of the £5 Etrog, in time for Succot.

The paperback, illustrated by cartoonist Paul Solomons, is aimed at six-to-10-year-olds. The story is of a boy who wants an etrog and then starts wondering why the adults who buy them always inspect them so carefully and what they are looking for when they do so. The author claims the answer “will change the way people think about how – and by whom – religious festivals are meant to be celebrated”.

Rabbi Tobias, whose day job is ministering to the The Liberal Synagogue Elstree, was inspired by seeing a box of damaged etrogim on sale at £5 last year. “The story promotes the Liberal Judaism message of inclusivity – that no one should be excluded from the festival celebrations because they don’t meet certain standards.”

He wrote it during a three month sabbatical and it is intended to be the first in a series of children’s books linked to festivals. The Mystery of the Hidden Matzah is already in the pipeline and Rabbi Tobias hopes that the collection of up to seven books will be completed by this time next year.

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