Sarah thought of the nights when she observed Jewish families happily lighting candles and enjoying feasts together on Fridays. How she wished to join them, leaving these hard times behind. Sarah had faint memories of being with her parents, celebrating all the Jewish holidays, especially Shabbos, but that was all a very long time ago.

Sarah and eleven other girls lived in a non-Jewish orphanage. The matron, Ms. Smith, was meeting with a woman considering adoption. Ms. Smith left the girls in the schoolroom while she was “doing other business.” The children waited, wondering what exactly Ms. Smith was doing.

Finally, Ms. Smith walked in with another woman and announced, “Girls, this is Mrs. Markovich.” After a couple of silent seconds, the women turned their backs to the girls and whispered. Then they walked into Ms. Smith’s office, leaving the girls wondering what happened. “Oh, and Sarah, come with us.”

One week later, Sarah had already joined the Markovich family. It was Friday afternoon and Mrs. Markovich was hurrying around the house, cleaning and getting ready for Shabbos.  Sunset came around, and after what felt like thousands of years in the orphanage, Sarah lit her candle, feeling so close to Hashem, thanking Him for being adopted by a loving family, and keeping the traditions of her past childhood.
—  Shirin Kaye, Age 12
The Philadelphia School
Pennsylvania, USA