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Every summer, as the school year ends, parents have the challenge of finding constructive outlets for their children. Perhaps the biggest challenge in our time is how to get the kids off the Internet and away from their computers. One solution is to try to interest them, in, yes, they are still around – books. After all, there is nothing like a good novel. My first recommendation would be my own novel, “Tevye in the Promised Land,” which continues the story of “Fiddler on the Roof,” bringing Tevye and his daughters to the Holy Land to become a pioneer builder of the Land. Teenagers love the book.

Another novel that will help lure teenagers away from their world of screens is “The Falconi Effect” by Catriel Sugarman. This an intriguing novel about the days of Mashiach. The Third Temple is back in place in Jerusalem and its spiritual influence radiates around the world, causing unexpected changes in the lives of everyone. International mafia leaders, business tycoons, and journalists, all find themselves on inexplicable paths of repentance and tshuva which lead them to Jerusalem. Falconi, the all-powerful leader of a violent anarchist movement which is threatening to take over the world, suddenly raises his arms in peace after a conversation with the all-knowing High Priest. George Prince, the world’s most powerful media mogul, who has long ago turned his back on his parents and Judaism, finds himself mysteriously drawn to his childhood home in Brooklyn to say Kaddish for his father. The Temple functions like an irresistible magnate, drawing people to its gates for purification and renewal, even the most cynical and anti-religious. If you ever wondered how the Temple will


function in an era of Internet, smart phones, Facebook, and modern technology, this novel has the answers. The story gives the reader a whole new understanding of the rapturous and miraculous period surrounding the Temple’s return. In addition, we enter the inside world of the High Priest and his assistants, who become the most influential people in the world, and learn all about the service of the Kohanim in a creative and suspenseful way.

The author, Catriel Sugarman, knows his stuff. A restorer of antique Judaica in Jerusalem, he is an expert on Temple matters and has even built a stunning and exact model of the Second Temple. Filling the pages of his novel are colorful descriptions of the Temple service. In effect, the book is an encyclopedia of the Jerusalem Temple in the form of a futuristic novel which has all the ingredients for a mega-budget movie. A movie would only return our teenagers back to their screens, but at least a film of the novel would be filled with Torah and have the power, like the ketoret, of bringing its viewers closer to Hashem. As the Prophet says: “And it shall come to pass at the end of days that the mountain of the House of Hashem shall be established as the chief of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and the nations shall flow to it…” (Isaiah, 2:3).

In the meantime, let’s hope that our children flock to books like this one. The novel is available in Jewish bookstores in Israel and at Amazon Books

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Tzvi Fishman was awarded the Israel Ministry of Education Prize for Creativity and Jewish Culture for his novel "Tevye in the Promised Land." A wide selection of his books are available at Amazon. His recent movie "Stories of Rebbe Nachman" The DVD of the movie is available online.