A history of New York Jewry took Jewish book of the year honors in the 2012 National Jewish Book Awards.
The Jewish people have been blessed with a plethora of biographies and memoirs about our rabbis, educators, philanthropists and community leaders. Unfortunately, many that were published in previous generations have been lost to history, and the impacts that many noteworthy individuals had on our people have been largely forgotten.
This excellent, delightful and lucid collection represents some of the best in academic research. Philological, lexicographical, linguistic, epigraphical, cultural, mythological, ritualistic, and historical knowledge are informed by virtuosity in comparative ancient Semitic languages. These erudite studies by the high-powered academic scholarship of Hayim Tawil – a professor of Hebrew languages and literature at Yeshiva University – shed light on Biblical Hebrew, the whole field of Ancient Near Eastern studies, medieval exegetical traditions, and the reception history of the Biblical text from antiquity to the present day.
I’ve always had an interest in the intersect between halacha, history, and archaeology. It is this interest that led me to research and write about the status of Purim in modern-day Israeli cities that are adjacent to ancient cities that had a wall around them in the days of Yehoshua Bin Nun. I concluded, in regards to Beit Shemesh at least, that there is much merit in observing a second day of Purim, on the 15th of Adar.
No one likes to dwell about loss, or delve into the nitty-gritty issues and emotions that come along with losing a loving parent to a horrible illness. However life happens, and the sad truth is that many people every day lose parents to illness or age. It's the facts of life.
In my weekly Jewish Press column, “Dear Dr. Yael,” I occasionally recommend books that will enhance shalom bayis, parenting skills and the quality of the Shabbos table. Lilmod Ulelamed, eloquently written by Rabbi Mordechai Katz, is a newly revised and expanded version of the original that was published by Feldheim Publishers in 1978. It is a book that can truly improve your Shabbos table.
ne Shot, authored by M. Wiseman, is an emotional drama that focuses on issues faced by some teens nowadays. In Suburbia, U.S.A., lived three extraordinary young men, Baruch, Nadav and Rafi. Nadav and Rafi have been friends forever, and Baruch joins the crew in his later teens. Pain is the bond that brings the threesome together. Baruch and Nadav have emotional pain and Rafi suffers from a physical pain; he discovered that he had advanced-stage cancer. The cancer was serious – too serious for the doctors, so they eventually stopped treating him.
When the Fine family (not related to the Feiners from Alone in Africa!) move into a new neighborhood, the twin siblings named Nesanel (again, not related to Nesanel Feiner) and Nechama set out on a very important mission – finding friends to rescue them from their boredom.
Alone in Africa, by Avigail Sharer, is an original adventure story about three siblings named Nesanel, Penina and Chezky Feiner, who are, well, alone in Africa. Except they aren't entirely alone – they have animals and two battling African tribes to keep them company.
The Holidays are over (please, no applause). But if you find yourself already missing them, rejoice, rejoice. A pleasurable new compendium of poetry by newcomer Yossi Huttler will keep you warm until Chanukah, Purim and – dare we say it too soon – Pesach once again come into view.
Receiving a difficult medical diagnosis can easily spell trauma, anguish, and hopelessness for a patient and his loved ones. Yet even amidst the dark skies of such a situation, Rabbi Y.Y. Rubinstein affectionately known simply as YY assures us that there is still hope.
Sadly, Dr. Zvi Faier, the gifted Torah scholar, theoretical physicist and poet, passed away in 2009, on the 10th of Tevet 5769, after a long illness borne with dignity and courage. There recently appeared the first of two posthumously published works that show the amazing breadth of his knowledge, insights and interests.
Work-life balance has been in the media a lot lately. Anne-Marie Slaughter, a Princeton professor who served as the first female Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department, wrote a groundbreaking article in The Atlantic entitled “Women Can’t Have It All.” Slaughter writes about her struggle with balance—parenting and working, and the importance of being present, as well as the importance of absolute boundaries between work and parenting. As evidence—both of the compartmentalizing men are capable of and as an example of the type of behavior women should engage in more, Slaughter writes about Orthodox men she has worked with: “Come Friday at sundown, they were unavailable because of the Jewish Shabbat.”
Title: Land of My Past, Land of My Future Author: Michael Kaufman Publisher: Targum Press, 2012
Rabbi Yehuda Loewe of Prague, known as Maharal, was one of the greatest lights that G-d has given to the Jewish people. Halachic authority and active communal leader, linguist and grammarian, philosopher and mystic, master of the totality of rabbinic literature and conversant in the arts and sciences as well, Maharal revealed new depths to the words of Chazal and uncovered layers of meaning that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.
The poems in this collection, Explaining Life: The Wisdom of Modern Jewish Poetry, 1960-2010 – some written originally in Yiddish and Hebrew – do “pierce the heart,” and educate it as well. These are poems about major issues in daily life – love, loss, alienation, family relationships, the after-effects of war, death and renewal – which help us reflect on how we are living and suggest possible ways to cope with and to improve our lives.
Many conservative pundits write and lecture on the threat of radical Islam. Almost none, however, possess political power. Geert Wilders is an exception. Head of the Netherlands’ third largest political party – the Party for Freedom – Wilders is on a mission to halt Islam’s advance in the West.
Baseless Hatred: What It Is and What You Can Do About It, a new book by Dr. Rene Levy, tackles a problem that has plagued the Jewish people from very early on in their history; the destructive aspects of which have been responsible for some of their greatest historical calamities and continue to threaten the unity of the Jewish people today.
In the 1880s, a substantial immigration of Jews poured into New York from all parts of Europe, Russia, and Galicia. They were eager to escape the hard life of poverty and lack of peace back home, but the reality in America was not as they had expected it to be. It was hard to find work; it was a struggle for mere existence.
There are two primary forms of measuring when it comes to cooking, and our goal is to wean you away from both of them to the greatest extent possible. (There is also a third form of measuring, but doing without it can be risky and, based on my own disaster-stories, I don’t advise it.)
Humanity, Liberty, Rationality: A Review of the Collected Writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch:...
Looking for inspiration? Read Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch. This is my general rule of thumb, which is why I was thrilled when the ninth (and presumably last) volume of the Collected Writings of Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (Feldheim Publishers) came out a few weeks ago.
It’s refreshingly rare to welcome a new compendium on the targum of Megillas Shir Hashirim and Ruth (in one volume), just released by Rabbi Henoch Levine. This is the tenth volume in a series by the author, acclaimed for his expertise in targumic studies in general, and for his works on Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel Al Hatorah, in particular.
Title: Biblical Beauty: Ancient Secrets and Modern Solutions Author: Rachelle Weisberger Publisher: Anbern Press
Title: The Kosher Grapevine: Exploring the World of Wine Author: Irving Langer Publisher: Gefen
Breathe deeply. You’ll need maximum physical and spiritual power to absorb the uplifting lessons in this book. Page 249 explains why some Jews are praised as “fish on dry land,” a phrase that describes Moshe Rabeinu. Am Yisrael began to appreciate his depth of character at kriat Yam Suf, realizing that “he lived in the revealed world as though he were in the concealed world.”