This is a Jewish LGBTQ children’s story for pre-K — 3rd graders that focuses on the themes of a single parent home, adoption, being chosen by G-d, and chosen family. Through this story, students will learn about a Jewish family that is a single parent Lesbian home and about the concept of being “chosen” in Judaism.
By Rebecca Weiner
And G-d Chose Zoe Too
Author: Rebecca Weiner
Content Areas: Jewish Identity, Mitzvahs, LGBT identity, Adoption
Grades: Pre K—3rd grade
Note: The following is a story to be shared and discussed with students
Sophie is six years old. Her favorite things are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, playing on her swing set, Chanukah and her dog Zoe. Sophie lives with her Mom and Zoe in a nice house with a big back yard and a tree house. Sophie’s mom has a girlfriend named Annie that lives a few blocks away. Sophie and Zoe are best friends. Zoe is more then twice as old as Sophie in human years and much much older in dog years. She is almost thirteen years old. Zoe is white and curly and has really floppy ears that are Sophie and her mom’s favorite part. Sophie has curly hair too, but her hair is light brown and her ears are kind of small at least compared to Zoe’s. Zoe sleeps in Sophie’s bed every night and in the morning they both run around the house like wild beasts. Zoe is still pretty fast and she always gets to the couch before Sophie.
Sophie’s mom is making breakfast for her, the same breakfast she likes to have every day. Sometimes her mom makes her have an egg or a bowl of cereal but her favorite breakfast is a toasted bagel and cream cheese. Zoe likes to try and eat Sophie’s breakfast too and once or twice she has gobbled up the whole bagel and chewed it up really fast before anyone could grab it. Sophie doesn’t mind because she loves the sound Zoe makes when she crunches food.
Sophie’s mom is very nice. Her mom is very smart and she works as an attorney making important decisions all day and helping people. But Sophie loves her mom because she makes really yummy food and she tells funny jokes and she built Sophie her own princess castle that fills up almost her whole room. She is also really good at fixing boo-boos with band aids and making them all better. She also built Sophie a swing set and tree house in their back yard. Sometimes Sophie will have picnics in her tree house and kick up her legs in her swing so high and fast that she feels like she is flying.
Today Sophie is going to Jewish School. She really likes Jewish school because her teachers are really nice and sometimes there are treats. Sophie wishes that Zoe could come to Jewish school but dogs aren’t allowed except at the end of the year picnic in the park. Sophie decided that whatever she learned in Jewish school, she was going to go home and teach Zoe.
Today, Sophie’s teacher was telling them how the Jews were the chosen people. She asked the class to think about things they and other people have chosen. Kenny said that he had chosen the name for his cat; Alex said that she had chosen the paint color in her bedroom and Misha said that he had chosen to bring chocolate chip cookies for snack today for the class. Everyone cheered when Misha said that. Then the teacher asked the class to name some things that other people had chosen. Sophie raised her hand way way up high. Sophie said “My mom chose me, I am adopted, and that means out of all the children in the whole wide world, my mom chose me.”
“That’s true Sophie,” said her teacher. “That is a very special choice just like it was a very special choice when G-d picked the Jewish people.” The teacher went on to tell the students what it meant to be chosen and how it came with certain jobs. She said that G-d chose the Jewish people not because they were better then other people but because they had jobs to do.
She explained that their job was to make the world a better place and create Tikkun Olam- repairing the world. She said that every person had a choice every day to choose between their good hand or their bad hand, their yetzer tov or yetzer ra. She explained that everyone had both sides, but it was always your choice to choose which side you would show the world. Are you going to show the world your worst side or your best side? She said that Jewish people are commanded by G-d to try and show their best side. They are chosen to be good.
When Sophie’s babysitter picked her up at school, Sophie sat in the back with Zoe. She started to tell Zoe everything that she had learned in school that day. She told Zoe that she must learn to use her best self and that Sophie was going to help her. When they got home, Zoe ran around the house and jumped up and tried to grab Sophie’s snack off the table. Sophie told her that she wasn’t using her best self and she should try harder. Sophie sat on the couch and petted Zoe’s fur and whispered in her floppy ears, “I know it is hard Zoe, but we are chosen so that means we can help make the world a better place.”
At dinner that night, they had their favorite dinner….PIZZA!!! Sophie told her mom what she had learned in Jewish school. Sophie’s mom said that everyone in their family was chosen because she had been adopted by her parents too. Our whole family is adopted, Sophie said. “Yes,” her mom said, “Our whole family.” “That means G-d chose our whole family and we chose each other,” said Sophie. “Yes,” her mom said, “We chose each other.”
That whole week Sophie helped Zoe learn how to be her best self — she helped her shush when she was barking and made her lay down on the ground instead of jump all around. One day Sophie and her neighbor Benny were playing out in the backyard. Sophie told Benny that she had a very special family. “My whole family is adopted,” she said. “My mom and me and Zoe. Just like G-d chose the Jewish people, we chose each other and G-d chose us too.” Benny asked if G-d even chose Zoe, and Sophie said, her curls shaking up and down, “Oh yes….. G-d chose Zoe too.”
Every night for a long time after that lesson, when Sophie’s mom would put her to sleep, they would all hug each other and say, “I choose you and I choose you,” and Zoe would lick them both, which Sophie was sure meant “I choose you” in doggy language. Every night they would also talk about how they could show their best self the next day and help to make the world a better place. And every night Sophie would say, “And Zoe too, because G-d chose Zoe too.”
When reproducing this story, please give credit to the author and Keshet.