Just in Time for Sefer Bereishis

October 30, 2014

seferad

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Ebb and Flow in the Book of Numbers

October 28, 2014

Redeeming Relevance in the book of numbers

Rabbi Francis Nataf, author of Redeeming Relevance in the Book of Numbers, was interviewed  on Voice of Israel.

Rabbi Nataf shares his personal journey with Eve Harow. Deeply intelligent and thoughtful, his insights are profound.

You can listen to the interview here.


Genesis: From the Heart of a Lion

October 26, 2014

By Alan Jay Gerber

One of the most charismatic young rabbis in education today is Rabbi Aryeh Cohen, the Mashgiach Ruchani at the DRS High School in Woodmere. Recently Rabbi Cohen assembled in book form (“From The Heart of a Lion,” Penina Press) a series of eloquent and timely essays themed to each parasha in Bereshis, the book of Genesis. The content of each chapter fully lives up to the rabbi’s reputation of combining his analytic learning style with anecdotes relating to life’s experiences.FromtheHeartofaLion9789655241969

In this week’s parasha, Noach, we find Rabbi Cohen’s gift of relating a personal relationship as a tool to demonstrate respect for authority especially in terms of religious reverence and mentorship.

The rabbinical authority in this essay was HaRav Nosson Finkel, zt”l, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, who was in Rabbi Cohen’s words the “foundation of my life as a Jew.” This relationship as described by Rabbi Cohen in the most heartfelt manner will serve as the bulk of this essay demonstrating the author’s style and the greatness of his subject.

“From the time I began to attend his weekly Erev Shabbos shmooze in his house while I was still learning in Keren B’Yavneh, I immediately needed to stay close to the Rosh Yeshiva whenever possible,” writes Rabbi Cohen. “Eventually, I had the zechus to learn in the Mir for a zeman and further strengthen my kesher. I was constantly asking for advice and learning from the Rosh Yeshiva. It was a relationship that continued after leaving the Yeshiva. … The final time I was zoche to be in the Rosh Yeshiva’s presence was exactly one month before his Petirah [passing] on the 11th of Tishre, 5772, the day after Yom Kippur., and the parting kiss is still felt. So much of who I am today is owed to the Rosh Yeshiva.” Read the rest of this entry »


Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission, and Legacy

October 23, 2014

by Rabbi Louis A. RiesercarlebachbioWeb1

Anyone who met Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach knew they were in the presence of someone extraordinary. Known as the guitar-laying rabbi, he reshaped Jewish music, created a unique outreach that embraced everyone regardless of background, and brought new life to Judaism around the world. Carlebach began as an emissary from Chabad Hasidism but morphed into a messenger of love and acceptance for all people. His music, with compositions numbering in the thousands, is sung in services across the breadth of the Jewish community. Often people do not even know that it was Carlebach who composed these “traditional” tunes. He reached out to hippies in the Haight-Ashbury and Jews in the former Soviet Union, brought a new spirit to Jews in Israel, and had a word of encouragement even for the beggar on the street.

This is the first extended biography available in English. It chronicles in exquisite detail the arc of Reb Shlomo’s life. We hear of his concerts, when and why he composed certain tunes, and who accompanied him. We learn of people whose lives were changed through their encounters with Carlebach. His charismatic power is evident. As with many leaders, there is a controversy surrounding him, and that gets recounted in this volume as well. For some readers, the detail may be excessive, but I found that its cumulative effect gave a feel for Carlebach’s tremendous impact.

This book tells an important chapter in the life of twentieth-century Jews.

This review appeared in the third issue of Congregational Libraries Today


Kaddish Review

October 21, 2014

By Evelyn Pockrass Kaddish: Womens Voices

Jewish mourning rituals affect survivors for the remainder of their lives. We remember loved ones in prescribed ways during the first year after their passing and in special ways hereafter…

Kaddish: Women’s Voices edited by Michal Smart and conceived by Barbara Ashkenas, gathers more than fifty short essays by women (mainly Modern Orthodox) about their experiences during the first year after a close relative has died. When a parent dies, part of the traditional observance required of men for eleven months is to attend services three times daily, during which the Kaddish (from the root meaning “holy”) prayer is recited.

Some Orthodox synagogues accept the participation of women in this ritual. The stories in Kaddish reflect the contributor’s experiences, both positive and negative, in carrying out the ritual. Some of he women endued poor treatment and other hardships, but saying Kaddish was nevertheless a great source of comfort and healing for all.

The volume’s layout is appealing; there are twelve chapters, each beginning with a part of the Kaddish prayer (in Aramaic and Hebrew) and a poem in English. Kaddish won a 2013 National Jewish Book Award.

This review appeared in the third issue of Church and Synagogue Library Association’s congregational libraries today.


Video Drasha for Sukkot

October 14, 2014

By David Bar-Cohn OhrHaShachar

What’s the whole idea of inviting “Ushpizin” into the sukkah? And why these seven people in particular and not anyone else? The answer may lie in the connection to Pesach…

To view the video drasha, click here.