web analytics
November 24, 2014 / 2 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Different From You And Me

book-Hope-Merchant

The Hope Merchant
By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz
Leviathan Press

Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz is just like any other guy who made aliyah in 1991, worked on a religious kibbutz and built a family. Except that he was kicked out of the aliyah office for being a single non-professional. Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz is just like any other guy who left university to pursue a career. Except it was Rutgers and he left in his senior year and he decided on his career of choice – being a French chef – after hanging around with bikers. Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz is, well, he isn’t really like any other guy. He just published his first book, The Hope Merchant, it’s not like any other book.

If The Baal Shem Tov, Viktor Frankl, J.K. Rowling and Roald Dahl could have collaborated on a book together, The Hope Merchant would have been the result. And as Berkowitz would say, It is entirely possible. It’s about life and about magic and about the magic of life. The Hope Merchant is a riveting, powerful, compelling masterpiece.

Berkowitz developed the idea for Theo, the child who grows up to become the Hope Merchant, when he and his family were living in Bat Ayin (in a home he built himself) after he completed a stint as an IDF medic and while working as a chef and learning in the yeshiva there. For a moment, he thought his 5-year-old son had prophetic powers. It turned out – spoiler alert – that he did not, but it got Berkowitz thinking: What would it be like to have a son with such powers, who knew what was going on in everyone’s heart and mind? What would it be like to be the father of Mashiach, for example, whose sole purpose was to do tikkun olam?

“ We’re here to fix the world and the only way to fix the world is fix ourselves and the only way to do that is to go a little bit crazy,” he says.

“I’m very comfortable with the idea of revealed magic. The world is full of magic, you just have to open your eyes and see it. The Hope Merchant never directly solves problems with magic, what he does is raise their consciousness and change their perspective through magic. It’s all tikkunim.”

The 52-year-old ba’al teshuvah, who originally hails from New Jersey, lives in Katzrin in the Golan with his wife Devora Gila and their four children.

“I wrote The Hope Merchant because I wanted to show what happens when people have their dreams stolen,” says Berkowitz.

“Have you forgotten your dreams?” The Hope Merchant asks a defeated and hopeless Lily when she “happens” upon his shop. Berkowitz wanted to talk about what matters most to people that if it’s taken away they are left hollow. So he wrote a book about a singular individual who is able to restore people’s dreams to them.

As one of the protagonists in the story says, “If I allow my dreams to fade and die, then I will be less than God created me.”

The 400-page book was 12 years in the writing and three in the publishing, finally published by Shimon Apisdorf at Leviathan Press. But it’s definitely worth waiting for. You get the feel already for what type of book this is going to be by the cover’s beautiful and mystical art by Luana Kaufmann.

The writing flows like a soul song but it isn’t all imagination. For example, a good deal of the story takes place on a dairy farm. Berkowitz spent five years at Sde Eliyahu“acting as a surrogate mother for sabra calves.”

I think the acid test of a book is how it changes you. Well, I haven’t totally transformed yet but ever since I read the book I’ve been trying to be more compassionate to people, trying to remember to honor them more and see past their façade to their hopes and feelings and pain. This book isn’t just a good read. It makes you want to be a good person, a better person and it makes you believe you can, which is, again, a very Jewish perspective. And one of my hopes is that there will be more books by this talented and unconventional writer because although Berkowitz says he identifies most with the character of Theo’s father, he himself is a Hope Merchant.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Different From You And Me”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
View from a section of the Old City of Jerusalem.
2 Jews Stabbed by Arab Terrorists in Old City of Jerusalem
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

This core idea of memory is very difficult to fully comprehend; however, it is essential.

Respler-112114

Sometimes the most powerful countermove one can make when a person is screaming is to calmly say that her behavior is not helpful and then continue interacting with the rest of the family while ignoring the enraged person.

LBJ-112114

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall divide within you.”

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

There were many French Jews who jumped at the chance to shed their ancient identity and assimilate.

As Rabbi Shemtov stood on the stage and looked out at the attendees, he told them that “Rather than take photos with your cellphones, take a mental photo and keep this Shabbat in your mind and take it with you throughout your life.”

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

Recently, Fort Lauderdale has been the focus of international news, and it has not been about the wonderful weather.

Rabbi Sacks held the position of chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth for 22 years until September 2013.

The event included a dvar Torah by student Pesach Bixon, an overview of courses, information about student life and a student panel that answered frequently asked questions from a student perspective.

It is difficult to write about such a holy person, for I fear I will not accurately portray his greatness…

“Grandpa,” I wondered, as the swing began to slow down, “why are there numbers on your arm?”

So the real question is, “How can we, as hosts, make sure our guest beds are comfortable?” Because your guests will never say anything.

More Articles from Rosally Saltsman
Lessons-in-Emunah-new

“My mother raised us to independence, all of us,” Rivka says, which certainly plays itself out in the fact that all three children have taken a different path.

Lessons-in-Emunah-new

Why am I getting so agitated? And look how we’re treating each other!

He has always supported the underdog, once even quite literally, legislating a law that prohibits the abandonment of pets.

“Have you forgotten your dreams?” The Hope Merchant asks a defeated and hopeless Lily when she “happens” upon his shop.

Although the book is a light, and not to be taken in anyway as a halachic, treatise, there are some poignant moments and you may just learn a thing or two.

Even in the best of times, life is not free of calamity or crisis. But like the well-known Jewish expression goes: “It could be a lot worse.”

He didn’t start the fire either, but Solomon’s parodies and adaptations have been igniting the Jewish spark in hundreds of thousands of Jews worldwide.

Not long after my mother died, I was sitting on campus talking with a friend and mentioned that it had been a long time since I had seen a frog. I used to love going out into the garden with my mother and our St. Bernard dog in the autumn evenings and see the frogs come out. I have a thing about frogs – probably from reading too many fairy tales.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/books/book-reviews/different-from-you-and-me/2014/07/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: