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What’s in a name? It’s an age-old question, we know. And we know that the midrashim pay special attention to the names found in the Torah. Using many sayings of Chazal, Chaim Stepelman, in his new book Blueprint of Breishis (Mosaica Press; 222 pages; 24.99) weaves intriguing thoughts about the people – both significant and unremarkable – occupying the pasukim of first book of the Chumash.
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The Easy-Shmeezy Guide to Yiddish (by Moshe Sherizen; Menucha Publishers; 174 pages; $9.99) is cute and fun. Does it work? I’d say it would be hard for me to gauge. I would love to learn Yiddish, but I’d also love to write more, listen to more classical music, attend more shiurim, read more fiction – oh and spend more time with my wife and children and finish Shas. I’ve spent some time with the Easy-Shmeezy Guide but not enough to judge. I will say that Sherizen has certainly created a very enjoyable book, and if learning is enhanced by enjoying, this small, easy-shmeezy-on-eyes primer is sure to become a practical hit.
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The Koren Talmud Bavli (Koren; various prices and page lengths) offers an eye-opening experience for all those who wish to encounter Talmud study. The color photos, illustrations, maps, and supplementary notes by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz provide a treasure chest of information that makes the sugyot in Shas come alive. The ninth volume, Tractate Yoma is now available.
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The Prime Ministers (The Toby Press; 715 pages; $29.95) packs a wallop – an enthralling political memoir by Ambassador Yehuda Avner who served as advisor and English speechwriter to Israeli Prime Ministers Rabin, Begin, Meir and Eshkol. This best seller weaves a rich tapestry of history and personal memoir from the founding of the Jewish state until the present-day. A National Jewish Book Award finalist, The Prime Ministers was recently released as a documentary shown in theaters across the United States.
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When the international community formally acknowledged the rights of the Jewish people to their ancestral homeland after the First World War, it was implicitly understood that this connection emanated from nearly 3,000 years of Jewish law and tradition. Rabbi Cardozo, in For the Love of Israel and the Jewish People (Urim Publications; 327 pages: $26.95), eloquently reminds his readers of that very fundamental truth in a period when many in the world have unfortunately forgotten it
-Dore Gold, formerly Israel’s ambassador to the UN
A fascinating journey into previously unexplored terrain, Chana Weisberg’s beautifully written book, Expecting Miracles: Finding Meaning and Spirituality in Pregnancy Through Judaism (Urim Publications; 352 pages; $27.95), explores the little known world of Orthodox Jewish women in various stages of pregnancy: their hopes, their dreams, their fears, their beliefs as they integrate the marvels, the mysteries, the magic, and ultimately, the miracle of childbirth and mothering. This is an important, erudite and valuable contribution, and offers fresh insights and intimate glimpses into the psychological and spiritual world of the Orthodox woman, a world where religion, above all, predominates.
-Yitta Halberstam, best-selling author of Small MiraclesShlomo Greenwald
About the Author: Shlomo Greenwald is associate editor of The Jewish Press.
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