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June 30, 2015 / 13 Tammuz, 5775
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Title: In One Era, Out the Other A Memoir of 20th-21st Century Jewish Life


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Title: In One Era, Out the Other A Memoir of 20th-21st Century Jewish Life
Author: Michael Kaufman
Publisher: Mekor Press/Menucha Publishers

Each one of us finds ourselves at the center of six generations of history. We hear the echoes of our grandparents’ era and see the beginnings of that of our grandchildren and we hope and endeavor to be the fulfillment of the hopes of one and the inspiration of the other.

In One Era, Out the Other is the memoir of Michael Kaufman, a Torah student, a writer, a kiruv expert, a man who has worn many hats and who, with insight and eloquence, provides us with a first-person account of Jewish history in the last century.

Many of us like different things in Jewish literature. Some prefer stories of illustrious Torah personalities while others like stories of Divine Providence. Some like books on hashkafa, others halacha. Some enjoy stories of kiruv rechokim, others like stories of kiruv kerovim.

In One Era, Out the Other is like a giant box of literary chocolates full of all of the above and more, sure to satisfy the discerning taste buds of any Jewish bookworm.

The volume speaks volumes of a time that is no more and of illustrious figures, legendary characters and personalities who will live forever; of an era fraught with change and striving to keep its tradition and of the move of the center of Jewish life from the bygone shtetls of Eastern Europe to the teeming cities of America and finally to Israel in the fulfillment of the 2,000-year-old dream of a Jewish homeland.

You’ll read fascinating stories about gedolim who read secular literature and American philanthropists who wouldn’t give tzedaka. About what Pesach was like at Rav Shraga Feivel Mendolowitz and about the earliest Shabbos clock for refrigerators; About the author’s debate with the Satmar Rebbe on Israel and the author’s wager with a budding novelist; the grant-writing abilities of Rav Aharon Kotler and Reb Shlomo Carlebach’s unique kiruv methods.

From the Maggid of Jerusalem to the great pyramid kiruv scheme of Meir Schuster, from the archeological find of a Dead Sea scroll in the pre-67 Arab market to unearthing treasures in unaffiliated Jewish souls and a rainbow of Torah personalities across the spectrum of Orthodox Jewry, this book literally has something for everyone.

In One Era is a compendium of the who’s who in modern Jewish history and the author’s relationships with seemingly all the notable personalities of the time. Michael Kaufman not only relates the significant events of the 20th and 21st century of Jewish history, he’s been an integral part of them. He is our window on Jewish life in the last century, the lives and hashkafa of both the illustrious and seemingly ordinary people of the time and we see it as clearly as he saw the Kotel plaza from his apartment window in the Rova. His is a personal narrative with national significance.

Michael Kaufman presents a mosaic of the different colors that make up the palette of Judaism from Agudath Yisrael to NCSY, from Chabad, Carlebach and every Chassidic court, from the yeshivas of Europe to the Catskills, from petitioning for shechita in Moscow to creating a mini Gan Eden in a moshav in Israel.

In One Era, Out the Other is a comprehensive, enlightening, inspiring, fascinating and very timely book (in every sense of the word). It not only describes the cataclysmic changes that have occurred within the Jewish community in America within the last century but also how much one person can accomplish with one’s life.

It is the ultimate in a modern history of the Jewish people and one that will leave you inspired to be a more active participant in its creation. A book about the past with tremendous lessons for the future.

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