Pickled Watermelon

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What the Book is About:

Molly is nervous about leaving her friends and her beloved Bubbe to spend a month in Israel with her mom’s family. She doesn’t like change, so at first she tries to avoid adapting to Israeli life, but slowly the country and its people win her over. By the end of the trip she has bonded with her Israeli family and is sad to leave. This is a sweet book, full of warm family relationships and appealing detail about life in Israel in 1986.

Jewish Content and Values

  • The book takes place almost entirely in Israel, so it is full of references to Israeli culture, including food, geography and kibbutz life.
  • Molly’s Israeli family speaks Hebrew and there are many Hebrew words in this book.
  • Molly’s cousin Meir has a traditional Jewish wedding, the elements of which are described.
  • Molly’s Saba (grandfather) goes to temple on Shabbat (the Sabbath).
  • Some of the older people, and Molly’s Bubbe in the United States, use Yiddish expressions.

Positive Role Models

  • Molly is afraid of change, and at first is apprehensive about going to Israel. Gradually she becomes willing to try new things and slowly reaches out to her Israeli family, discovering that new experiences can be a source of strength and enrichment. She goes home with a new awareness of her identity as both Israeli and American.
  • Molly’s parents treat her with respect, talking openly and honestly about their own struggles with adapting to new places and making difficult life choices.
  • Bubbe is Molly’s confidant, sympathetically listening to Molly’s worries about the trip and offering advice and support.

Content Advisory


Talk it Over

Have you ever been in a situation you would rather not have faced, but it turned out to be good for you? What happened, and what did you learn from the experience?
More For You

Molly goes to visit Israel in 1986. Here are some significant events of that year: the New Shekel becomes the currency; refusenik Natan (Anatoly) Sharansky is freed from a Soviet prison after 12 years and arrives in Israel; Israeli Air Force navigator Ron Arad is captured in Lebanon; Yitzhak Shamir takes over as Prime Minister from Shimon Peres.

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