One is Not a Lonely Number

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One is Not a Lonely Number book coverWhat the Book is About:

Thirteen-year-old Talia Schumacher’s beautiful home is always full of guests, especially on Shabbat. In the midst of Talia’s growing resentment about her parent's focus on hachnasat orchim (the Jewish custom of welcoming guests), a visitor named Gabrielle Markus shows up. To Talia’s horror, Gabrielle (a young Jewish woman in her early twenties) is temporarily adopted by the Schumacher family while she puts her life in order. Gabrielle gets a job directing Talia’s school’s play, and slowly Talia begins to appreciate Gabrielle’s quirky personality.

Talia is a whiz at math and has plenty of friends, but she longs for brothers or sisters. While Talia never quite gives up on her dream of having siblings, she does learn to appreciate her own gifts in this gentle coming-of-age story.

Jewish Content and Values

  • The book paints an authentic picture of everyday Modern Orthodox American life.
  • The characters, many of whom are girls and women, feel pride in their Jewish identity.
  • The concept of celebrating Rosh Hodesh (the first day of every month) is explored.

Positive Role Models

  • Talia's mother is a full-time professional who works hard but also makes time for Talia.
  • Dr. Janas is Talia's wise female math teacher who urges her to do her best while being sensitive to the risk of performance anxiety.
  • Talia is a strong female character. She excels at math, cares about her friends, and is flexible enough (in the case of Gabrielle Markus) to not always judge a book by its cover.

Content Advisory:

This book contains no violence. Talia's mom suffers from infertility and Gabrielle tells Talia about her twin sister who died when Gabrielle was three.

Topics to Discuss

At first Talia is not thrilled by having Gabrielle in her house, but by the end of the story, they are friends. Have you ever met someone whom you didn't like at first, but when you got to know them better, you became friends?

More for You

In Jewish tradition, the prophet Elijah is the world's most wanted guest! According to the biblical book of Kings, Elijah lived, prophesied and performed miracles in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Ahab (9th century BCE).

Centuries later, the legend of Elijah lives on. Today, at many circumcision ceremonies, a chair is set aside for Elijah. During the Passover Seder (the meal that marks the beginning of Passover), a cup of wine is poured and the front door is opened for him. At the end of the havdalah (the ceremony that marks the conclusion of Shabbat), a song for Elijah's return is traditionally sung. Circumcisions, seders and havdalah all mark times of transition in our lives. We invoke the name of Elijah, the traveler, to make those transitions just a little bit easier.