The Saturday Secret

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The Saturday Secret book coverWhat the Book is About:

Twelve-year-old Jason loves playing baseball. His stepfather, David, loves Jewish tradition. On Saturdays, the two clash as Jason is forced to miss his Little League games to observe Shabbat. Resentful, Jason continues to play on Shabbat without permission, inventing elaborate excuses to leave the house. His cover is blown when he is injured on the field, and he finally discovers what is truly important to his family.

Jewish Content and Values

  • Emet (Truth): As much as Jason wants to play baseball on Saturday, he really feels uncomfortable sneaking around and lying to his family. He learns that, as hard as it is, telling the truth does pay off in the long run.
  • Pikuach Nefesh (literally: preservation of human life): When Jason gets injured on Shabbat, his stepfather, David, drives him to the hospital, breaking the laws of Shabbat. David not only teaches Jason that Shabbat can be broken in times of emergency but also that the Torah is meant to be a guide to teach Jews how to make the right choices.
  • Shabbat and Jewish Tradition: Jason’s immediate family celebrates Shabbat, which begins at sundown on Friday night and ends Saturday night. They eat a festive meal together and attend synagogue; they also keep kosher (eat food that conforms to Jewish dietary laws).

Positive Role Models

  • Jason’s stepfather, David, is a caring husband, parent and step-parent. David speaks up when Corsello, Jason’s mean baseball coach, bullies the players, and he apologizes for insulting Jason after a failed babysitting episode. When Jason gets hurt while playing, it’s David who brings him to the hospital and takes care of him.
  • Jason’s grandfather is helpful and supportive, offering to coach Michelle (the one girl on the team) and cheering on the team at Jason’s games. He counsels Jason about telling his parents the truth, and encourages Jason to see the big picture in order to avoid arguments with his stepfather.
  • Jason has difficulty adjusting to the changes in his life after his mother’s remarriage. He misses his father and does not connect with his stepfather’s more religious outlook. Slowly, Jason comes to the realization that honesty, communication, and compromise are necessary in developing strong and loving relationships within his newly blended family.

Content Advisory

None

Talk it Over

When Wayne, Jason's African-American friend, walks into the restaurant to attend Jason’s birthday party, the management immediately assumes he’s applying for a kitchen staff position. Michelle is a great baseball player, but Corsello, her coach, makes comments about her “ruining her manicure” and “planning her slumber party” every time she misses a play. How would you feel if you or one of your friends were spoken to in a prejudiced way? What would you do?

More for You

Sandy Koufax, one of the greatest pitchers of all time, played for the Brooklyn/L.A. Dodgers in the 1960s. Although he was not a religious man, when Game One of the 1965 World Series against the Minnesota Twins fell on Yom Kippur (the holiest day of the Jewish calendar), Koufax refused to play. The Dodgers lost that game but eventually won the World Series. Sandy Koufax earned the title of Most Valuable Player for pitching shutouts in Games Five and Seven. His decision to sit out Game One garnered national attention and inspired pride in the hearts of American Jewry.

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