Video of the 4th Annual Howard Adelman Lecture with author Robert Rubinstein

Click The 4th Annual Howard Adelman Lecture for the video online.
Featuring Robert Rubinstein, author of An Italian Renaissance: Choosing Life in Canada,
Winner of the 2011 Canadian Jewish Book Award, in the category of Holocaust Literature
Delivered at York University, Toronto

Robert Eli Rubinstein, An Italian Renaissance: Choosing Life In Canada 
Published by Urim Publications

The author, a businessman and community leader in Toronto has written a remarkable memoir of the physical and spiritual rejuvenation of his parents, Hungarian survivors of the Holocaust, after the unspeakable horrors they had experienced. With most of their immediate families murdered and the Russians imposing a new tyranny in Hungary, they decided to leave. Early in 1946, they and a few of their surviving relatives escaped to Italy. There, in a Displaced Persons camp located on the grounds of a former psychiatric hospital near Turin, birthplace of the author, they found the healing conditions to revive their hope in the future and their commitment to their faith.

By a fortunate, almost accidental chance, that future led them to Toronto, where the Rubinsteins and their cousins became leading real estate developers and benefactors of the community. This work, however, is not just the record of a remarkable family’s survival in the Holocaust and re-establishment in Canada; it is above all a sensitive tribute by a loving son of the debt he feels to his parents for the character and values they have imbued in him by their actions and example. Beautifully expressed, this memoir is a wonderful contribution to the hitherto largely ignored area of Holocaust survivors’ re-establishment of their shattered lives.

Abuse in the Jewish Community: An Orthodox-Friendly Resource List

Posted by JewishMom on Nov 2, 2011 on


Recently a famous rebbetzin was brought in to give us Nachlaot moms some chizuk in the aftermath of the pedophile crisis that you moms have been hearing about so much over recent months.

Afterwards, I waited in the line to ask the rebbetzin a personal question. When my turn arrived I told her how much I have enjoyed listening to recordings of her classes over the years, and what an honor it is to finally meet her in person. And then I asked her what I really had on my mind:

“Rebbetzin, maybe it’s a bad idea to remain in a neighborhood this dangerous. Maybe we should move somewhere safer?”

This rebbetzin, who up until then had been searching in her purse for something, abruptly stopped her searching, and looked up at me with sad, piercing eyes. She asked me, “And where exactly is this safe place you are planning to move to?”

The rebbetzin then went on to list, at length, the Orthodox communities throughout Israel and the world that over recent years have been hit by crises similar to the nightmare we are currently enduring in Nachlaot.

Dr. Michael Salamon, a clinical psychologist with 2 decades of experience treating frum victims of abuse, is the author of the newly-released book Abuse in the Jewish Community: Religious and Communal Factors that Undermine the Apprehension of Offenders and the Treatment of Victims (Urim). This excellent, comprehensive book provides harrowing statistics and stories that illustrate the extent as well as the causes of this widespread evil within our midst.

On behalf of all JewishMOMs everywhere I would like to thank Dr. Salamon and his publisher (and mine) Tzvi Mauer as well as Rabbi Blau, who provides the book’s haskama, for taking the brave step to publish and support this controversial book in order to keep our children safe, IY”H.

I am reprinting here the book’s extensive list of Orthodox-friendly links and resources, which I hope will enable prevention of and treatment for abuse in our holy communities throughout the world (feel free to recommend other resources in the comments below):

Abuse Prevention and Treatment Resources Confronting Domestic Violence in Israel:
Offers shelters for women, transitional housing, hostel for teens
and legal aid for all. Bat Melech-Miklat
works with families and women of all ages addressing domestic
violence, from economic empowerment to breaking the inter-
generational cycle of violence, and from advocacy in the courts to
lobbying the government. A comprehensive site
designed for parents to prevent sexual abuse of children. Programs for prevention of
childhood sexual abuse. The National Domestic Violence Hotline:
Education, resources and links.
The Child Welfare Information Gateway for
Prevention of Abuse and Neglect.!_SexAbuse.htm The American
Academy of Pediatrics: Guidelines for keeping children safe from
predators. Child protection and abuse
prevention information. The
US National Institute of Health: Source and reference site for
articles, programs and guidelines for child and domestic safety. Organized by the Pennsylvania
Coalition Against Rape: Provides consultation. The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention: Portal to the study of Adverse
Childhood Experiences. The Family Violence Prevention Fund: Programs for children and families. National
Consensus: Guidelines on identifying and responding to domestic
violence victimization. Provides specific recommendations
for assessing and responding to domestic violence that may be
applied to health care settings; also useful as a general database.

Some Suggested Readings

For Children
[CJ Weisberg’s additions: After this list was compiled Artscroll released the 1st Orthodox children’s book ever to educate frum kids on how to protect themselves from abuse:
*Let’s Stay Safe by Bracha Goetz (Artscroll)
*No-No the Little Seal by Sherri Patterson is a highly-recommended book that enables Orthodox moms to effectively educate their kids about the dangers of abuse in a modest way.]

• No More Secrets. San Luis Obispo: Impact Publishers.
• Amazing Spider-Man and Power Pack on Sexual Abuse.
• Private Zone. The Chas. Franklin Press: WA.
• What If I Say No! Bakersfield: M. H. Cap. & Co.
• The Silent Children: A Parent’s Guide to the Prevention of Child
Sexual Abuse.
• Once I Was a Little Bit Frightened and Red Flag, Green Flag. Rape
and Abuse Crisis Center.

• Daddy’s Girl. New York: Berkeley Books.
• I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
• Kiss Daddy Goodnight. New York: Pocket Books.
• The Color Purple. New York: Pocket Books.

• The Right To Innocence: Healing the Trauma of Childhood Sexual
Abuse. New York: Ivy Books.
• Betrayal of Innocence. New York: Penguin Books.
• Victims No Longer: Men “Recovering from Incest and Other Sexual
Child Abuse.” New York: Nevraumont Publishing Co.
• AM I BAD? “Recovering from Abuse (New Horizons in Therapy).
Ewart, III, H. B. Ann Arbor, MI: Loving Healing Press.
• “EPAI” Your Life: A Program for “Recovery from Incest & Child-
hood Sexual Abuse. McKinnon, M. and Taylor, M. Ann Arbor,
MI: Loving Healing Press.
• Gifts From the Child Within: Self-discovery and Self-recovery
through Re-Creation Therapy.
• Breaking Through Betrayal: And Recovering the Peace
• The Trauma Myth
• Tips for survivors of sexual abuse: A pocket book of wisdom

• The Color Purple
• Nuts
• Something About Amelia
• Winnie the Pooh – Too Smart for Strangers

Review of Innovation in Jewish Law in Shofar

by Daniel P. Aldrich

Innovation in Jewish Law: A Case Study of Chiddush in Havineinu, by Michael J. Broyde. Jerusalem and New York: Urim Publications, 2010. 163 pp.

The vast body of Jewish law—halacha—is timeless and unchanging, yet displays a dynamism that allows rabbinic scholars to respond to new social, technological, and economic situations over millennia. As the author points out, “Though the Torah is G-d given, halacha is neither static nor stagnant” (p. 133).

In this new, well-written book by Michael Broyde, the author takes a case-study approach to tease apart the interplay between the timelessness and dynamism of halacha. He argues that within the canon of Jewish law, the most “significant form of change is innovative interpretation,” or chiddush. To provide evidence for this, Broyde chooses to focus on a single prayer, known in Hebrew as Havineinu, which is an “abstract, abridged form of the Shemonei Esrei” (p. 5), literally “The 18,” made up of blessings set down by the Anshei Knesset HaGadolah (the men of the Great Assembly). While the Amidah (Standing Prayer) has become the standard text recited by Jews around the world, the Havineinu was a rabbinically recognized alternative. Beginning with the writings in the Mishna and the Gemara (Oral Law), through the Rishonim (later generations of scholars), the Rambam (Moses Maimonides, 1135–1204), the Rif (Yitzchak al-Fasi, 1013–1103), the Bach (Rabbi Joel Sirkes, 1560–1640), the Taz (David ha-Levi Segal, 1586–1667), and modern rabbis such as Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1895–1986), Broyde traces how generations of poskim (halachic decisors) have handled this abbreviated form of prayer, arguing that decisors use two main methods—“harmonization” and “ruling”—in their interpretation of Jewish law. The ways in which rabbis interpreted the appropriateness of the Havineinu reflect a singular, unchanging law which is refracted through changing social and technological conditions.

While the law is unchanged, conditions allowing or dictating its use have, and hence poskim must understand both the law and their own times to illuminate the proper course of action.

Broyde begins with Continue reading “Review of Innovation in Jewish Law in Shofar”

Abuse In The Jewish Community

Occasional contributor Dr. Michael Salamon’s new book, Abuse in the Jewish Community: Religious and Communal Factors that Undermine the Apprehension of Offenders and the Treatment of Victims (Urim), documents ongoing coverups of child sex abuse in the haredi community.

Salamon also explains the trauma that comes from child sex abuse, and explains the haredi understanding of Jewish law and the haredi community mores that make it especially difficult for haredi victims to report haredi predators to police, and for the victims to get the therapy they need.

The book doesn’t deal with prevention or treatment, but Dr. Salamon hopes to publish a second volume that will.

Abuse in the Jewish Community would make a nice gift for any Orthodox or haredi rabbis you know.

If they read it, it will make it much more difficult for them to deny the truth, and it might force them to make make changes that will actually protect their community’s children.

Post appeared online on

Headquarters of Children (on Parashat Vayera)

Excerpt from The Torah Commentary of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Genesis, Part I.

And God had remembered Sarah as He had said, and God did or Sarah as He had spoken. (Bereishis 21:1)

HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED THAT UNDER THE chuppah the man says something to the woman, but the woman doesn’t say anything? So I want to say the deepest Torah in the world. The man says to the woman, “I want you to be holy.” Do you know what the woman wants? She wants more than that, she wants the holy of holies, the holy of holies.

You know why the woman is the one to bring children into the world? Because she is connected to the holy of holies.

For us, it’s the mother who makes the children deeper.

Here I want to share with you a gevalt Torah.

Vayera Elav Hashem, God gave over to Avraham the secret of the holy of holies. So when the angels come to Avraham, they sense how deep and special this meeting is. They ask him, “Ayeh Sarah ishtecha,” where is your wife Sarah? Now that God revealed to you the secret of the holy of holiest, what level is your wife Sarah on?

He answers “Hinei ba’ohel,” she’s always in the tent. She is always in the holy of holies. She was there long before me.

You know my beautiful friends, imagine if Avraham and Sarah got married and had a son right away. What would it sound like to you? It might be beautiful, but something is missing because Jewish children are not just born because man and woman get together and decide to have children.

The Heilige Beis Ya’akov says that Avraham and Sarah prayed for all the Jewish children to ever come down to the world. Sarah and Avraham already prayed for all generations to come.

I wish it would be again like it’s supposed to be. There is something so special about holy Jewish families. Gevalt, gevalt, gevalt is Continue reading “Headquarters of Children (on Parashat Vayera)”

Shlomo Katz and The Torah Commentary of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach at Pomeranz

JOIN POMERANZ BOOKSELLER for an evening with:

Shlomo Katz featuring his new book:
“The Torah Commentary of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach”
When? Monday evening November 21, 2011 7:00 pm
Where? M. Pomeranz Bookseller Be’eri 5, Jerusalem

The Torah Commentary of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
Carlebach Beresheit
Beresheit – Genesis Part I
Beresheit * Noach*
Lech Lecha * Vayera *
Chayei Sarah * Toldos *

Edited by: Rabbi Shlomo Katz

Hardcover, 263 pp.

With purchase of book receive a full Sefer Hakiddush! 150 pages! Artistic! and useful!

Description: The Torah Commentary of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach provides a glimpse into the unusual way in which the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach received and transmitted Torah. It also aids the reader in bridging “Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach the great composer/singer” and “Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach the great scholar/teacher.” Those who sing his songs, but do not learn his Torah, only sing half a song. When Reb Shlomo speaks of Abraham and Sara, you are sure he is speaking about his own grandparents. When delving into the lives of Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, Rachel and Leah, it is as if he is speaking of his own parents.

The teachings in this book of commentary are not just meant to be read – they are intended to be enjoyed and experienced as “holy music.” Ultimately, they are intended as a lesson in living a “holy life.” Wherever Reb Shlomo traveled in the world, he brought several suitcases of holy books with him. This book makes Reb Shlomo’s teachings accessible to help us carry on our journey through life.

About the Editor: Rabbi Shlomo Katz is a world renowned musician. In the summer of 2006, Shlomo received his rabbinic ordination from Rabbi Chaim Brovender and Rabbi Shlomo Riskin at Yeshivat Hamivtar. Shlomo has been an integral part of building the Shlomo Carlebach Legacy Trust, which has been working to preserve, to publish, and to distribute the legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach ztz”l as a Jewish national treasure.

Book Review: Life’s Journey: Exploring Relationships, Resolving Conflicts

by Geulah Grossman, M.Sc.

Life’s Journey: Exploring Relationships, Resolving Conflicts is a book to help you journey through life; “Inscribe us in the Book of Life.”

Reading Dr. Batya Ludman’s wonderfully wise Life’s Journey: Exploring Relationships, Resolving Conflicts (Devora Publishing, 2011) sparked some memories.

In 1970, when I had my first child, two best-sellers sat on my night-table: the umpteenth edition of Benjamin Spock’s The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care and the just-published Future Shock, by Alvin Toffler.

Spock’s message to parents was “Be confident — you know more than you think you do – and the rest is clearly explained here.” Even in 1946, when the book was first published (it’s still going strong, having sold more than 50 million copies in 42 languages), many young parents needed both the encouragement and a friendly knowledge-source, because – like today’s olim — they were living far from their extended families.

Toffler defined future shock as perception of too much change in too short a period of time”. Although Toffler wrote before anyone could even imagine specific changes like computers in every home (or room) and cell phones  in every pocket, he was spot-on in predicting that masses of unexpected or unfamiliar information would weaken one’s sense that “I know how to get along in this world”.

In 1975, when I came on aliya, the only useful book was The WonderPot Cookbook. It taught me about unfamiliar ingredients and non-oven ways to prepare them, but any other info I needed for navigating into Israeli society, and for raising my children within it – was totally unavailable. Knowing Hebrew gave me the illusion that I understood what was going around me. In reality, it’s the culture, not the language that takes time, patience, and human guidance to understand.

Although future shock now engulfs everyone in “western” society, groups enduring extra-large doses are new parents, parents of teen-agers, and new olim, each making their first entries into unfamiliar worlds. Many people belong simultaneously to two or all of these groups. Oh for a map, and a helping hand!

In her book, Dr. Ludman, a licensed clinical psychologist and a familiar name to Anglo olim, who is also a family therapist and trauma specialist and who writes a column for the weekend edition of the JPost, provides cogent descriptions of life’s challenges, mental exercises that lead to personal insights, and practical advice for dealing effectively and meaningfully with people and events throughout the life-cycle.

Among the topics: stress and its antidotes, effective communication, marriage, child-rearing, technology and its challenges to family life, the senior years, bereavement, and much more.

One chapter, “Take Your Foot Off the Gas”, should be translated into Hebrew and read together by all Mediterranean parents and their new-driver teenagers.

In addition to the high quality and scope of its advice, what makes the book unique is its chapters on life in Israel – the initial aliya adjustments, the difficulties of living far from loved ones, dealing with children’s teachers, coping with terror and the threat of terror, worries about our soldier-children, the roles of religion and culture in our lives, and all these combined.

Here’s one of my favorite paragraphs (it was hard to choose…):

“Pretend for a moment that you are from another planet. Remember, life is not what you knew back home. Appreciate all the things your new life has to offer and enjoy your adopted country’s strengths…..Where else do you see pink and red flowers growing on the same tree?….. You have to be moved when the bus driver, the woman at the checkout and the gym instructor all say Shabbat Shalom.”

Life’s Journey is an excellent gift for anyone at any stage of life’s journey – especially (but not only) if that journey includes aliya.

Online post may be found here.

Woodmere Psychologist Tackling Abuse in Jewish Community

by Susan Varghese

Long-time Five Towns resident, psychologist, and author, Michael J. Salamon is spreading awareness about abuse. Salamon has just released his fifth book, titled Abuse in the Jewish Community: Religious and Communal Factors that Undermine the Apprehension of Offenders and the Treatment of Victims.

“Early on, one of my internships was at a shelter for abused woman and children,” Salamon said. “ When I started working, I was exposed to several people with a history of abuse. And, because of the way it was handled in the Jewish community…well, it was basically not handled.”

Salamon grew up in Cedarhurst and is currently a Woodmere resident. He is the founder and director of the Adult Development Center, Inc., a psychological practice in Hewlett. “My job, family and friends [made me stay in The Five Towns]. A lot of the same people I grew up with still live here,” Salamon said. He went to Queens College and then to Hofstra University for his doctorate. “I had a passion for music, I played guitar in bands, and put myself through school through playing gigs.”

His latest book addresses the issue of abuse in the Jewish community, the factors, and signs of abuse, just to name a few.

According to Salamon, the reasons of abuse Continue reading “Woodmere Psychologist Tackling Abuse in Jewish Community”

Why We Pray What We Pray in JewishMediaReview

by Dov Peretz Elkins

So many of us recite the words of the Siddur without understanding the meaning of the Hebrew (or Aramaic) words – like a mechanical exercise. This book helps the reader understand the meaning and depth of several of the most important prayers.

Why We Pray What We Pray details the various factors that influenced six important Jewish prayers and shaped how and when Jews recite them. This book shows that each prayer Shema, Nishmat, Birkat HaHodesh, Anim Zemirot, Aleinu and Kaddish has a complex history of which contemporary worshippers are mostly unaware. When we learn about the factors and forces that shaped these prayers and Jewish liturgy in general, our appreciation of what Jewish worship is all about becomes that much more profound. Why We Pray What We Pray also sets forth important moments in Jewish history with depth and detail.

Leon Wieseltier, author of Kaddish, and the literary editor of The New Republic, writes this about the book:

“Barry Freundel’s studies of the Jewish liturgy are quite unique: they are a guide to understanding and to practice. A scholar and a rabbi, he has an uncommon talent for combining textual and historical erudition with an immense sensitivity to the experience of prayer. He deploys his immense learning with great skill, and again and again casts new light upon some of Judaism’s most familiar words. Above all, this book is animated by a profound and admirable commitment to the thoughtfulness of religious faith. If you have ever wondered what iyun tefilah [study of the meaning of prayer] is, it is this.”

Rabbi Dr. Barry Freundel is the author of Contemporary Orthodox Judaism’s Response to Modernity (Ktav) and the Rabbi of Congregation Kesher Israel at the Georgetown Synagogue located in downtown Washington DC. Rabbi Freundel serves as vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) and chair of its Conversion Policies and Standards Committee, where he helped create and administer the RCA’s network of North American conversion courts. He is also Associate Professor of Religion at Towson University and Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University.

The book is a must-read for everyone who wishes to understand both the content and history of the prayers they recite. Why We Pray What We Pray belongs in every Jewish home and library!