There is a strong and sturdy tradition of hospitality in Judaism whereby it is considered a good thing to welcome strangers by providing them with food and shelter. Such kindness and courtesy is far preferable to the habit of hostility and distrust of outsiders which often characterizes rigid communities.

This is the 13th volume in the popular Kar-Ben Sammy Spider series of books for children ages 2 - 8 years of age. When the Shapiros hear that an Israeli family has moved in next door, Josh convinces his parents to take some some hummus and pita as a welcoming gift. Sammy, the spider in a web in the Shapiros' kitchen, wishes that he could join the festivities. Magically, a gentle breeze carries him out the window and posits him on the branch of a tree. There he meets Moti, who speaks Hebrew. Sammy pulls him out of his funk by showing him how he spins a web.

The welcoming party touches the hearts of everyone involved including Sammy who learns a new Hebrew word and is happy to have made a new friend in Moti.

It is easy to see why these edifying tales of Sammy the Spider are so popular: they are good medicine for the soul. Hats off to Sylvia A Rouss for the writing and Katherine Janus Kahn for the splashy illustrations.