Maddie Gold is a teenager who’s gotten kicked out of Hebrew school for being an inquisitive pain in the ass to her teacher (Rabbi Klutzner — or “the klutz, as the kids call him). Her bubbe throws a fit.
“What do you mean my only granddaughter is not going to be a bat mitzvah?! My son Jacob is a macher in his shul. Jacob, give them a donation. Have them name a chapel after me.”
“No can do, Ma. You’d have to die first.”
“Over my dead body! You’re smart. Come up with something.”
A nonconforming hippie, turned hipster turned mystic, Rabbi Bishop intervenes and decides that if she’s ever going to get that bat mitzvah she’ll have to do it by an alternative method. He strikes a deal with the Jewish Girl. If she can prepare 36 Jewish recipes over the course of a year, Maddie will know the prayers, customs, holidays, generational links, l’dor va dor and…yeah even enough Hebrew to fake it. Who the hell needs traditional religious school, anyway? In fact, what school would take on an impish Maddie Gold? Would you believe Catholic School? Who else would have her?
On her way, toward her coming of age ceremony she meets 36 quirky lamed vavniks, righteous individuals necessary to keep the world together. Every interaction can shape shape her life (and her family’s). But who are the 36? You’ll never be certain, but the Rabbi teaches “If you want to be enduring, you’ve got to be endearing. Win them over.”
Will Maddie ever become Bat Mitzvah?
Even if everyone survives her cooking?