7 Jewish Children’s Books That Teach Kids About Being a Good Neighbor

When you’re a good neighbor you contribute to your community, make people happy, and turn the world into an all around better place. The idea of loving one’s neighbor – ve-ahavta lerei’acha kamocha – is the basis for many mitzvot and acts of kindness and tzedakah. Often referred to as The Golden Rule, this teaching is present as a tenet in most major religions because being kind and welcoming to others is a universal value.

Adults and Kids PicnicingDon’t know your neighbors yet? Invite them over for a potluck or a low key meet and greet.

When kids see grown-ups modeling what it means to be a good neighbor, they learn beautiful lessons about welcoming others, being a good friend, building community, and repairing the world. The bonus of being a good neighbor? Making your community a better place for everyone who lives there.

When you're a good friend and community member, you help repair the world -- Tikkun Olam.

The adorable, brightly illustrated stories below are all about building community and friendship between neighbors.

The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street

The Cats on Ben Yehuda Street by Ann Redisch Stampler

Recommended for ages 6 to 7

Mrs. Spiegel loves her two cats, but it’s clear that her grouchy neighbor, Mr. Modiano, doesn’t share her warm feelings. Should we be surprised that, when one of the cats goes missing, it is Mr. Modiano who searches the streets of Tel Aviv to find her?

Chik Chak Shabbat

Chik Chak Shabbat by by Mara Rockliff

Recommended for children 6 to 7 years old

Everyone in Goldie Simcha’s apartment building knows it’s Friday night when they smell her delicious Shabbat cholent. But one Friday night, Goldie doesn’t feel well enough to cook. Her neighbors step up to make an unusual cholent for Shabbat -- and soon Goldie will feel much better.

The Forever Garden

The Forever Garden by Laurel Snyder

Recommended for ages 5 to 7

Honey takes care of her garden every day -- even though she's going to be moving away soon. Laurel, her neighbor next door, knows she's going to miss her. But Honey explains to her that friendship, like her garden, has a way of growing -- despite time and distance.

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by Michelle Edwards

Recommended for ages 6 to 7

Mrs. Goldman takes care of everyone in the neighborhood, including her young neighbor, Sophia. When Mrs. Goldman gets sick, Sophia creates a special “get well” present with a very personal touch.

Hanukkah Cookies with Sprinkles

Hanukkah Cookies with Sprinkles by David A. Adler

Recommended for ages 6 to 7

Sara and her family are getting ready for Hanukkah -- which means delicious foods, including cookies! But then she notices one man who doesn’t seem to eat much at all, let alone Hanukkah treats. Sara decides to try and help.

Mrs. Katz and Tush

Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco

Recommended for ages 5 to 8

An elderly widow and a young boy develop a special bond by caring for a sickly kitten.

Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom and Salaam

Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom and Salaam by Fawzia Gilani-Williams

Recommended for ages 5 to 6

Yaffa and Fatima are dear friends, despite coming from different backgrounds. When times get tough, how will they look after each other? This rendition of a classic Jewish folktale is an inspiring look at how friendship perseveres.



Looking for more ways to teach your kids about being neighborhly and helping others? Watch Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Episode 114, “Neighborhood Thank-You Day.” This adorable learning video is a great companion to the books and lessons in this post.


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20 Beautiful Children's Books About Friendship
Everything You Need to Know About Tzedakah
PJ Goes to School Resource Guide: The Brother’s Promise and Loving Others


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