“Presentation is very important. Judaism is not necessarily appealing to a lot of people and you want to make it as attractive as possible,” said Rabbi Chaim Miller, founder of the Kol Menachem publishing house.
This sentiment underlies almost all of Rabbi Miller’s works, including his most recent – the full-color, beautifully-designed Schottenstein Tehillim. “I grew up with these very old, dusty-looking books that were just unattractive, very cold, and alienating,” Rabbi Miller said. “People do judge a book by its cover. I think design is very important.”
Naturally, the contents of a book are vital as well, and Rabbi Miller aims for excellence in this regard by filling his works with the teachings of the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, one of the previous generation’s most fascinating rabbinic figures.
“In my own personal journey, “ Rabbi Miller said, “I found [Chabad] material very compelling, inspiring, and intellectually engaging. It’s something that I felt was lacking in Judaic publishing and I wanted to fill that void.”
In his latest publication, Rabbi Miller sought “to give people the opportunity to find meaning while saying Tehillim…. A lot of people see Tehillim as just saying the words without knowing what they mean. You don’t have a lot of insight into it. I’m trying to address that and give meaning to the experience.”
Rabbi Miller’s Tehillim was co-sponsored by two Schottenstein cousins, one of whom is renowned as the patron of ArtScroll’s popular Schottenstein Talmud.
Asked what’s next on his agenda, Rabbi Miller said he hopes to produce a complete Shabbos siddur (his Friday night siddur appeared in 2011) and a coffee-table size book of interviews with noted personalities who met privately with the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
About the Author: Elliot Resnick is a Jewish Press staff reporter and holds a Masters degree from Yeshiva University’s Bernard Revel School of Jewish Studies.
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