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Posts Tagged ‘books’

Holland Hebrew Bookstore Ex-Owners Move to Israel, Close Up Shop

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

One of Western Europe’s largest Hebrew bookstores has closed down in Amsterdam as its former owners prepare to move to Israel.

The Samech bookstore has been supplying Hebrew-language books to members of Holland’s Jewish community for nearly 40 years and possessed a stock of 100,000 books, according to the website of the Dutch Israelite Religious Community, or NIK.

The store, which used to be the largest of its kind in the Netherlands, belonged to Daan and Shulamit Daniel, who are planning to move to Israel. All their children had already moved out of the Netherlands in favor of “places with richer Jewish lives than Amsterdam,” according to NIK.

The store’s entire stock was sold or given away last month, the report by NIK said. Holland has a Jewish population of 41,000 -45,000, the European Jewish Congress reported.

Haredi Censorship of Torah

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

The best database of seforim (books written about Torah topics are called seforim even though the word just means books, it has connotations of holiness and importance) is Otzar HaHochma. The Otzar has every sefer you could possibly need. They have 47,350 books in the their database. Each of them is searchable so you can really find anything that’s been written about anything.

Searching is free but reading and printing cost money. Full, unlimited access costs a lot of money. (If you’d like to sponsor a subscription for me, I’ll graciously accept.)

There are several tiers of Otzar subscriptions. Here is the current pricelist:

The Complete Otzar HaHochma – 47,350 books Cost: $1,890

Thousands of books covering all topics in Torah, Judaism, Mishnah and commentary, Babylonian Talmud and commentary, Jerusalem Talmud and commentary, Responsa, Shulchan Aruch and commentary, Torah files, Tanach and commentary, Chazal, Kabbalah, Jewish philosophy and ethics, Hassidism, Drushim, Jewish holidays, Jewish history, prayers and hymns and many others.

Bnei Torah Edition – 45,150 books Cost: $1,685

Identical to the complete Otzar HaHochma but contains 1,200 fewer books. Certain books whose world outlook did not correspond to that of the Haredi sector have been removed.

Otzar Gemara Ve’Halacha – 30,700 books Cost: $1,400

Thousands of books covering topics such as Mishnah and commentary, Babylonian Talmud and commentary, Jerusalem Talmud and commentary, Reponsa, Shulchan Aruch and commentary, halacha u’minhag, Torah files.

Otzar Torah U’Machshava – 26,400 books Cost: $1,250

Thousands of books covering such topics as Tanach and commentary, Chazal, Kabbalah, philosophy and ethics, Hassidism, Drushim, Jewish holidays, Jewish history, prayers and hymns and various others as well.

The Library Edition – 47,350 books Cost: $1,170 This version includes all 41,500 books in the Complete Otzar edition, as well as all program options other than the free search option.

To add 880 books of Mosad Harav Kook (670 books in Bnei Torah Edition) Cost: $320

880 books (670 in bnei Torah edition) from the important publisher – basic works in all Torah fields in precise and
uptodate editions: Chidushei HaRitva, Rashba, Ran, Tosafot HaRosh, Mefarshei Hamikra Harishonim series, Torat Chaim series, Torah Umegilot, Tshuvot HaGeonim, Rishonim and Acharonim, Daat Mikra on Nach series, hagut and mussar, piyut and tefila, research and bibliography, history, Hebrew Linguistics and much more.

To add 405 books of Machon Yerushalayim Publications Cost: $230

This unique package from a leading publisher of Jewish religious publications includes hundreds of books by rishonim and acharonim, such as Shulchan Arukh Hashalem,Otzar Mefarshei Hatalmud, Sidrat Tshuvot Harishonim, Minchat Chinuch Hashalem, Noda Beyehuda Responsa, Sidrot Gedolei Ashkenaz, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, and Ohr Hamizrach.

To add 420 Books of Ahavat Shalom Publishers Cost: $170

420 books of the Ahavat Shalom Publishers, including books published for the first time from manuscripts as well as fundamental books.

To add 4,200 books of Kehot Publication Society (Chabad) Cost: $ 90

An extensive collection of Chabad publications, including ancient and rare books, as well as all basic Chasidic sources, Torah files, history books, and albums. The collection has been made possible through the generous
assistance of Kehat Publishing.

Network license: $210 for each station.

Notice anything interesting?

The full database includes 47,350 books. But one can get a 45,150 book version as well. (Otzar thinks this is 1200 fewer books. It’s actually 2200). This version is called the “Bnei Torah” edition. The words bnei Torah are used to imply one is a yeshiva student or Haredi. It’s unfortunate that one cannot be considered a modern ben Torah, but such is the foible of language. So if you are a ben Torah you don’t want access to 2,200 of the books on the Otzar database. These books are deemed inappropriate for Haredim because they are inconsistent with Haredi perspectives.

This is incredible. All the books in the Otzar are frum texts. They are all legitimate seforim from reputable Torah scholars. Yet, a small segment of these books is not consistent with Haredi thinking. Well, of course not! Not everything in Judaism has always been Haredi. That much is obvious to any Torah scholar. But in order to reinforce an imaginary history where nothing was inconsistent with Haredi Judaism, these books are excised from the subscription. It’s really amazing. These are not anti-orthodox books. That’s for sure. These are just books that “do not correspond to the Haredi sector.” Turns out, it’s forbidden to read books that might inform you that your way of life is not the only way of life that is legitimate within orthodox Judaism. Pretty sad.

As for me, I want a list of these 2200 books. I also want to know who the censor is and what the criteria are for removal from the Bnei Torah list. I also want to learn those 2200 seforim, pronto.

Visit Fink or Swim.

How to Publish Your Book Today

Monday, May 20th, 2013

How can you get your masterpiece published? On this week’s Goldstein on Gelt show, you can get the lowdown on Internet publishing – how to put your book out there and make money online. Penny Sansevieri, founder and head of Author Marketing Experts, returns to the show to give some more red hot internet publicity advice after the reissue of her e-book of the same name. Whether you’re a budding author or not, don’t miss this interesting interview.

Tevye in the Promised Land, Chapter Thirty-Eight: A Love Song for Hodel

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Months passed. Yankele and his family boarded a freighter and headed back to Russia. Guttmacher’s brother either never received, or didn’t bother to answer the letter Tevye had written to him, so Guttmacher’s two orphaned children became permanent fixtures in Tevye’s home. Another addition to the family also arrived. Ruchel and Nachman had a baby – a princess of a girl whom they named Sarah Tzeitl.

Buildings continued to sprout up in the Olat HaShachar colony. The dry beds of the swamp land were plowed. Crops were planted, wheat, barley, maize, and rye. Looking out from the hilltop synagogue, fields and vegetable gardens decorated the landscape like a colorful patchwork quilt. Wagon loads of water melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, cabbage, beets, and onions were shipped off to the Jaffa market. Citrus trees were planted, but the religious law of orlah, one of the agricultural laws which God had commanded the Jews to obey in the Holy Land, forbade the settlers from eating the fruit for the first three years of its growth. Laws requiring that gleanings and the corner of fields be left for the poor were also strictly observed, as well as the rules governing mixed plantings and tithes. Nachman, who had spent several days in Jaffa studying the agricultural laws with Rabbi Kook, was appointed to oversee their enforcement on the yishuv.

As if it were another law of the land, Arab marauders made periodic raids on the colony, stealing whatever they could lift or uproot. When two bulls were stolen, the settlers began chaining the legs of their livestock at night, but the measure didn’t foil the Arabs. Instead of leading the bulls away, they chopped them up with machetes and hauled them away in pieces. Once again, the Jews complained to the local Turkish officials, but nothing was done to apprehend the offenders. Past experience had taught Tevye that only a decisive response by the Jews would discourage the Arabs from further encroachments. His motion to organize an ambush was accepted. For a week, the Jews hid at night in the small forest of eucalyptus trees which had been planted to dry up the swamp. On the sixth night, a group of armed Arabs snuck out of the sand dunes bordering the colony. Silently, they darted through the darkness toward the barn. With a roar, Tevye rose to his feet and charged forward. Like a platoon following its commander, the other Jews raced out from their hiding places. Their shouts startled the Arabs. Only four of the settlers had rifles, but the roar of their gunfire terrified the thieves. Dropping their weapons, they ran to their horses and fled. Though none of the marauders had been wounded, the Arabs learned a lesson. Half a year passed without a further incident of trespassing or theft.

For the time being, life was a pleasure. A long stretch of spectacular weather arrived. Work progressed in leaps and bounds. At the end of the day, Tevye collapsed into bed in happy exhaustion. He felt that his sins, as well as the sins of the land, had been granted atonement. New life sprouted up everywhere. In his heart, in his house, and in the once desolate fields. Like the fruit of the sabra cactus which grew wild in the hills, the land was thorny and hard on the outside, but sweet and juicy within. As if overnight, wherever the eye looked, instead of swamp and sand, blossoming gardens and orchards covered the landscape.

“Blee ayin hara,” his wife Cannel said.

Anytime Tevye would praise their good fortune, his wife would whisper, “Blee ayin hara,” hoping that the evil eye would not cast its glance on them. It was an expression she had learned from her father. In this world, a man could never be certain what lay ahead. He could never take credit for his achievement and success, believing that his own wisdom and strength had brought him his good fortune. Everything was a blessing from God, and a man had to keep his head humbly bowed and always give thanks to his Maker.

At least for the moment, Tevye’s heart was at peace. As the Rabbis said, why should a man look out for a storm on a clear, sunny day? Or maybe Tevye had said that. Sometimes he couldn’t remember which words of wisdom the Rabbis had written, and which expressions he had coined on his own. Be that as it may, the only small worry that Tevye had was his unmarried daughter.

Authors’ Lost Treasures (Podcast)

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

What are the treasures that authors throw away? Are they worth any money? If you are a budding author, will people be reading your rough scribbles in fifty years’ time? Ken Lopez specializes in helping living authors to sell their papers. He has stumbled on many interesting artifacts belonging to famous writers. Find out more about Ken and the interesting papers that he has bought and sold on this week’s episode of the Goldstein on Gelt show.

Palgrave Macmillan Participates in ‘Israel Apartheid Week’

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

I published a book, The Hidden Hand, with St Martin’s Press in 1996 and had a good experience with the house. Which gives me the more reason to be appalled to see the message that St Martin’s corporate successor, Palgrave Macmillan, sent out today, “Debating Israeli Apartheid Week“:

In conjunction with the 9th Annual Israeli Apartheid Week, take a look at our featured titles from our distribution partners Pluto Press, I.B. Tauris Publishers and Zed Books, bringing attention to this moment of the Palestinian struggle.

Comment: (1) This is another sign, as if more were needed, of the corruption of Middle East studies. (2) I am breaking all relations with Palgrave Macmillan. (March 11, 2013)

(The “learn more” link above takes the reader directly to the “Israel Apartheid Week” website.)

 

Mar. 12, 2013 update: Amy Bourke, Corporate Communications Manager at Palgrave Macmillan, wrote me the following note today under the subject line “Palgrave Macmillan response”:

Dear Mr Pipes

Palgrave Macmillan would like to express our regrets for the e-mail sent in error on Monday morning.

While many of our authors have published seminal works debating various aspects of the Israeli/Palestine conflict, and Palgrave Macmillan is committed to promoting scholarship, research and debate on this difficult topic, we would never endorse one particular political point of view. The wording used in the e-mail is unacceptable, and the e-mail does not represent the views of Palgrave Macmillan, distribution partners or its employees.

The e-mail was sent without having gone through the usual checks and processes, for which we sincerely apologise. We are working with the team involved to find out how this happened, and to ensure it does not happen again.

I hope you will include our response on your blog – do not hesitate to call me if you have any questions.

Kind regards

Amy

Amy Bourke
Corporate Communications Manage
Palgrave Macmillan, Scholarly

Congratulations to Palgrave for its quick and complete reversal. I am happy to renew ties to this important publishing house.

Originally published at DanielPipes.org and the National Review Online, The Corner, March 11th, 2013 and updated March 12, 2013.

When Daniel Moynihan Stood Tall at the UN

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

On November 10, 1975, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 3379, declaring Zionism a form of racism. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the United States ambassador to the UN at the time, rose after the resolution passed and proclaimed, “The United States…does not acknowledge, it will not abide by, it will never acquiesce in this infamous act.”

A new book by historian Gil Troy, “Moynihan’s Moment: America’s Fight Against Zionism and Racism” (Oxford University Press), traces Moynihan’s fight against Resolution 3379 as well as its impact on American foreign policy and Moynihan’s subsequent 24-year career as a New York senator.

The author of eight previous books, Gil Troy is a professor at McGill University, a fellow at the Hartman Institute, and a columnist for The Jerusalem Post. An interview with his brother Tevi Troy – a fellow at the Hudson Institute and an adviser to Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential campaign – appeared in The Jewish Press on December 7.

The Jewish Press: Why did you write this book?

Troy: First of all, when I was growing up, Daniel Patrick Moynihan was my hero and I remembered Moynihan’s moment standing up [for Israel in the UN]. And as an American historian, I was surprised that this moment – which to me was a critical turning point in America’s relationship to the UN and the world – was barely mentioned in books about the 1970s.

When the General Assembly passed this infamous act, it was six months after the fall of South Vietnam. It was a moment of tremendous American demoralization. Moynihan spoke a language that inspired Americans. In fact, it inspired Ronald Reagan, who quoted Moynihan in his speeches on the campaign trail in 1976 when he ran against Gerald Ford.

Why did the UN proclaim Zionism a form of racism? Was it already so anti-Israel in 1975?

The UN had started turning anti-Israel in the 1960s. I interviewed George Will for the book, and he said Israel made a tremendous mistake in 1967: It dared to win at a time when the Left was falling in love with victims.

The interesting thing about Resolution 3379 is that it was a fallback. The original idea was to kick Israel out of the UN. That ran into the opposition, though, of Henry Kissinger and many Asian and African countries that were new members of the United Nations and didn’t want to start making membership in the United Nations something that was debatable.

You write in the book that Moynihan fought Resolution 3379, not out of love for Israel but love for America. Can you explain?

Moynihan comes in as UN ambassador in 1975 saying, “Israel is not my religion.” But he sees that the new way of humiliating the United States is Israel, and it offends his sensibilities. It plays into his fears of where the Third World and the UN is going, and so he says this is unacceptable.

You also write that at the same time the UN was debating whether Zionism was racism, a genocide was under way in Cambodia which the UN was ignoring.

Absolutely, and that’s part of the reason why I call November 10, 1975 the day the UN died.

Although Henry Kissinger, secretary of state at the time, opposed Resolution 3379, he didn’t fully support Moynihan’s campaign against it. Why not?

Kissinger was more from the realist school rather than the idealist school that Moynihan was from. He wanted a quieter, softer diplomacy, so he found Moynihan a bit of the bull in the diplomatic china shop. To my shock, I found transcripts where Kissinger literally says to one of his foreign aides, “We’re conducting foreign policy here. This isn’t a synagogue.”

In fairness to Kissinger, the Americans saw Egypt in the process of leaving the Soviet orbit after the 1973 war. Kissinger – and the Israelis – saw Resolution 3379 as a line in the sand that the Palestinians, Libyans and Syrians were drawing to force Egypt to vote with them and thus keep Egypt alienated from the West. So Kissinger and the Israelis didn’t want to overreact because they thought from a geo-strategic global perspective, it was better to have Egypt come into the American camp.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/when-daniel-moynihan-stood-tall-at-the-un-an-interview-with-historian-gil-troy/2013/01/31/

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