Darosh Darash Yosef

by Stanley Peerless

Since his death in 1993, the teachings of Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, the scion of the “Brisker dynasty” and the recognized rabbinic leader of the Modern Orthodox community in North America, have been published in a growing number of works written or edited by his students. The Rav taught primarily in four contexts: his regular shiurim at Yeshiva University; his public lectures such as his yahrtzeit and teshuvah lectures and his addresses at Mizrachi conventions, the articles that he published mainly in tradition magazine; and his drashot on Chumash that were delivered on Saturday nights in Boston. Most of the publications on the Rav’s teachings have drawn from his public addresses, which focused primarily on halachah and philosophy. A few works focusing on the Rav’s shiurim on Gemara have also been published.  Rabbi Avishai David’s new book, Darosh Darash Yosef, reflects a new genre, recording teachings from the Rav’s Saturday night drashot on Chumash. Continue reading “Darosh Darash Yosef”

Highlights Foundation Workshop–Writing Jewish-themed Children’s Books

by Barbara Krasner

Registration is now open for the second annual Highlights Foundation workshop, “Writing Jewish-themed Children’s Books.”

When: May 15-18, 2011 (starts with dinner on the 15th and ends with lunch and an optional tour of Highlights on the 18th)

Where: Highlights Founders’ home in Boyds Mills, PA (about 2.5 hours outside New York City)

What: A hands-on workshop specifically designed for writers of Jewish-themed content. Whether your manuscript has slight or overwhelming Jewish content, this is the workshop for you. Unlike a one-day conference, this workshop includes one-on-one manuscript critiques with an expert in Jewish children’s literature or an editor; an editor panel; a discussion of Jewish children’s books with prominent Jewish librarian Linda Silver, author of Best Jewish Books for Children and Teens; and real-time writing with immediate critique.

In addition, you’ll learn

  • the future of Jewish children’s literature
  • what agents and editors look for
  • best practices in writing Jewish content for children


  • Linda Silver, author Best Jewish Books for Children and Teens
  • Margery Cuyler, Publisher, Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books/Shofar Books
  • Natalie Blitt, expert on Jewish children’s literature and former program director and book selection committee chair, The PJ Library
  • Ruth Katcher, Editor-at-Large, Egmont USA
  • Debra Hess, Senior Editor, Highlights for Children
  • Laurel Snyder, author of Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher and Penny Dreadful
  • Barbara Krasner, workshop leader

From The Whole Megillah.

The original article may be found here.

Review: An Italian Renaissance, Choosing Life in Canada

by Jew Wishes

An Italian Renaissance: Choosing Life in Canada, by Robert Eli Rubinstein, is more than a family memoir depicting the family’s move from a Displaced Person’s Camp (DP camp) in Italy to Canada. It is a loving tribute to the family members who survived the Holocaust/Shoah.

From the first page to the last, I couldn’t put the book down. I was engrossed with the story line, and taken by the frankness with which Rubinstein depicted his family’s journey through the Holocaust/Shoah and beyond. But, the reader soon realizes that the journey is also his own, as he reconciles the fact that he was born in Torino, Italy, to parents who lived in Grugliasco, a DP camp, with the fact that his mother tended to romanticize the time spent there.

Rubinstein not only visited Torina, Grugliasco, and his familial roots in Hungary, but learned much about the history behind the DP camp. He writes an honest account of the living conditions within the DP camp enivronment, which is taken, not only from familial accounts, but also historical documents, and oral statements from others. Continue reading “Review: An Italian Renaissance, Choosing Life in Canada”

On Changes in Jewish Liturgy Book Launch

To celebrate the publication of On Changes in Jewish Liturgy: Options and Limitations by Rabbi Prof. Daniel Sperber,  please join Urim Publications and Machon Lander for an evening of discussion on the topic of prayer and halachah in the modern world.

Thursday, January 13, 2011 (8 Shvat) 7:30 PM in Jerusalem

Prof. Joseph Tabory, Machon Lander: Opening remarks

Rabbi Prof. Aryeh Frimer, Bar Ilan University:

Feminism and Changes in Jewish Liturgy

Rabbi Dr. Aharon Adler, Rabbi, Ohel Nechama:

The Impact of the State of Israel on the Liturgy

Rabbi Prof. Daniel Sperber



The event will take place at Machon Lander, located at 3 Am ve-Olamo St. in Givat Shaul, Jerusalem. This event is open to the public and entrance  is free of charge.

Tender, honest, filial love

by Mordechai Ben-Dat

Considerable time elapsed after the Shoah before its survivors, in the main, could speak about their experiences even to their children, let alone publicly.

Those who were able did find ways to separate memory from nightmare and talk or write openly, if painfully, to the world about what they had witnessed or, worse, experienced. Though even they, in doing so, would never be able to lift the heavy, leaden stones from their hearts.

Today, more than 6-1/2 decades after the war, a considerable number of survivor memoirs have been published. Indeed there are even public foundations, such as the Azrieli Foundation, that encourage and assist survivors to write their personal stories. Continue reading “Tender, honest, filial love”

Curling Up With an E-Book on Shabbat?

by Rabbi Jason Miller

Tech gadgets have changed our lives. And they will change our lives even more in the future.

For Sabbath observant Jews, tech gadgets pose some lingering questions about their usage on Shabbat. My teacher, Rabbi Daniel Nevins, is a member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards — the body that decides matters of Halakhah (Jewish law) for the Conservative movement. Rabbi Nevins has been working on a teshuvah (legal response) regarding the use of an e-book on Shabbat and was quoted on the matter in Uri Friedman’s recent article in The Atlantic, “People of the E-Book? Observant Jews Struggle With Sabbath in a Digital Age.”

I remember back in the 1990’s when CD-Roms containing entire collections of Jewish texts were first on the market. I saw a cartoon that in the first frame showed a Jewish library with hundreds of sets books — Bibles, Talmuds, rabbinic commentaries, etc. Each shelf was overfilled with Jewish books from the ancient to the modern. In the second frame, labeled modern Jewish library, was an entire library with empty shelves and one CD-Rom sitting on the shelf. At that time, the common response to the Jewish library becoming digital was that while it’s great to have the Talmud or Midrash on the computer six days of the week, on Shabbat we still want our traditional books.

Today, we’ve moved beyond having to load a CD into our computer to read Jewish books, study Torah, or look up reference material. Continue reading “Curling Up With an E-Book on Shabbat?”

Chief: ‘It’s going to be a busy three years. There’s lots to do’

by Justin Cohen

British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is most recently the author of Future Tense

The Chief Rabbi this week pledged to make his final three years in office “more hectic” than ever after it was announced he is to retire in September 2013.

Lord Sacks, 62, who became the sixth chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth in 1991, has launched groundbreaking initiatives to enhance anglo-Jewry while also taking Judaism to a far wider audience through his media broadcasts and numerous books.

The hunt for his successor will begin next summer following a widespread consultation on the nature of the chief rabbinate. Continue reading “Chief: ‘It’s going to be a busy three years. There’s lots to do’”

Jewish Book Awards Accepting Submissions

By: Ilan Mester

The 22nd annual Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Awards is accepting submissions for the 2011 awards, taking place on May 30, 2011. The Canadian Jewish Book Awards celebrates the best in Canadian writing related to Jewish subjects and themes.

Submissions must be written by Canadian citizens or residents and focus on Jewish-related subjects and/ or themes. Books must have been published between Jan. 1, 2010 and Dec. 31, 2010, to be considered for the book awards. Applicants should submit four copies of books along with an entry form by Jan. 31, 2011.

A number of writers from around the country won awards last year, including Allan Levine (Coming of Age: A History of the Jewish People of Manitoba), David Sax (Save the Deli), Jeffrey Veidlinger (Jewish Public Culture in the Late Russian Empire), Goldie Sigal (Stingy Buzi and King Solomon), Michael R. Marrus (Some Measure of Justice: The Holocaust Era Restitution Campaign of the 1990s) and Robin McGrath (The Winterhouse). Continue reading “Jewish Book Awards Accepting Submissions”

China Asks: ‘Why Are Jews Excellent?’

by Caitlin Dickson

Chinese readers have apparently found a new use for the Talmud: a guide to the secrets of Jewish financial success. Isaac Stone Fish at Newsweek reports from China that the past few years have seen a rise in popularity there of books such as “Crack the Talmud: 101 Jewish Business Rules,” “The Illustrated Jewish Wisdom Book,” and “Know All of the Money-Making Stories of the Talmud.”

Online, “why are Jews excellent,” was the fourth most-searched “why” question in China last year, according to Google Zeitgeist’s rankings. Fish contends that “the Chinese perception of Jews as expert moneymakers does not have the religion-based antagonism that often accompanies the same stereotype elsewhere in the world,” and that the Chinese fascination with Jewish success is more an expression admiration than, say, envy. Continue reading “China Asks: ‘Why Are Jews Excellent?’”