The Holy Land Through American Eyes

Aaron Leibel | Jewish News | Washington Jewish Week

american interests

There’s the Kotel, the Western Wall, in 1859, not much different than it is today. There are tourists outside Jerusalem in 1867. There are Polish Jews staring into a camera in 1867, while their counterparts from Yemen do the same in 1900.

These photographs and dozens of others, culled from the Library of Congress online collection and the digital collections of many other libraries and institutions, are the heart of “American Interests in the Holy Land Revealed in Early Photographs From 1840 to 1940.” It was cobbled together by Lenny Ben-David, former deputy chief of mission at the Israeli Embassy in Washington.

Many of the photographers were American Christians who benefited from two 19th-century inventions — the steam-powered ship and photography — enabling their trips and their documentation of life in the Holy Land.

Continue reading “The Holy Land Through American Eyes”

Reclaiming Humanity

Review by Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins • Jewish Media Review

Reclaiming Humanity web1


The inner world of a healthy child is filled with wonder, awe, and faith in a fair and just world. But for some children, a belief in the benevolence of the world and its people is often too hard to claim. In this unique guidebook, Dr. Norman Fried gives valuable insights into the lives of children who have been victimized by chaos or disease, and teaches how to help them grow within the context of a loving, accepting, and ethical bond. Using these examples, along with insightful writings of psychology, faith, and the wisdom of trauma specialists, Dr. Fried shows how divine connections can serve as an inspiration, as well as a template, for other healthy interactions in a world that needs repair. Through directed action, biblical citations, and psychotherapeutic techniques that provide empowerment and hope, Dr. Fried takes the reader on a journey toward healthier functioning.

Norman J. Fried, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and a disaster mental health specialist for the American Red Cross of Greater New York. he is a former director of psychosocial services at the Cancer Center for Kids and the division of pediatric hematology/oncology at Winthrop University on Long Island. He has also taught in the medical schools of New York University and St. John’s University, and has been a fellow in clinical and pediatric psychology at Harvard Medical Schoo. He is the author of The Angel Letters: Lessons that Dying Can Teach Us about Living and Every Day I Bless You: Reflections on the Healing Power of Shiva. He lives in Roslyn, New York.

Am I My Body’s Keeper? Torah, Science, Diet, and Fitness – for Life


Review by Judy Siegel-Itzkovich • The Jerusalem Post

An 86-year-old Jerusalem scholar expertly explains in a new book how to live a healthy life and practices what he preaches.

MICHAEL KAUFMAN. (photo credit: Courtesy)

By now, everybody in Israel and the Jewish world abroad should know that tobacco, overweight and obesity, inactivity and a junk food diet cause disability and kill, but if it’s so clear, why do so many people still smoke and abuse their bodies?

The haredi (ultra-Orthodox) and to a lesser extent the modern Orthodox communities in Israel and in the Diaspora are at higher risk of heart attacks, stroke, cancer, diabetes and other chronic maladies than the secular population. They are less exposed to the media that warn against harmful lifestyles and how to avoid them. Smoking, while banned inside the yeshivot, is still widespread outdoors and in the homes of observant Jews and even their rabbis, despite the declaration in Deuteronomy of ve’nishmartem meod lenafshoteichem (“And you shall take very good care of your bodies”) that is understood to prohibit one from endangering one’s health. Young haredi boys are often seen smoking cigarettes given to them by family members on Purim and to show they have “become a man” on their bar mitzva.

Continue reading “Am I My Body’s Keeper? Torah, Science, Diet, and Fitness – for Life”

American Interests in the Holy Land

Yankees in Zion

A series of essays examines a century of curious photos of the Holy Land, revealing a complex weave of relationships among Americans, Arabs, and Jews.

Written by Elka Weber, Segula Magazine

american interests

Americans have long been fascinated with Israel (if not always enamored of it). In the 19th century, many American Protestants saw the return of the Jews to the Holy Land as a prerequisite of the Second Coming. At the same time, Jewish immigration to the land increased, buoyed by the nationalist fervor sweeping Europe and by anti-Semitism around the world.
This mass immigration coincided with Continue reading “American Interests in the Holy Land”

A Torah Giant

from the Midwest Book Review

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In the pages of “A Torah Giant: The Intellectual Legacy of Rabbi Dr. Irving (Yitz) Greenberg”, readers will discover the breadth of wisdom provided by this generation’s giant of Torah, Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg.

Rabbi Yitz is one of the most renowned leaders in contemporary Jewish communal life. His dedication to foster a more interconnected and vibrant Judaism has been felt across the academic and broader world. In this new study of his work as compiled and edited by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz (President & Dean of Valley Beit Midrash, the Founder & President of Uri L’Tzedek, and Founder & CEO of Shamayim V’Aret), the legacy of Rabbi Yitz is discussed at length by those who have been affected by his inclusive model of contemporary Judaism, his approachable erudition, commitment to fostering meaningful interfaith dialogue, and constant striving to make the world a more just place. These intellectual progenies divulge the lasting impact Rabbi Yitz has had on their lives and the lives of people around the globe.

Exceptionally well organized and presented, “A Torah Giant” is unreservedly recommended for personal, synagogue, community, and academic library Judaic Theology collections and supplemental studies reading lists.

From Mourning to Morning

From Mourning to Morning

“If only common sense was wise enough to comfort mourners and to cope with the tragedy of death. As a Rabbi and highly respected hospital chaplain, Simeon Schreiber has written an invaluable modern day guide to the perplexed, all those well-meaning friends and relatives who come to bring a measure of consolation to those suffering the loss of a loved one and – because of their lack of knowledge of fundamental psychological insights as well as profound Jewish ideas hallowed by tradition – undo all the good that might be accomplished with a shiva call. I wish everyone who is about to fulfill the great mitzvah of visiting those who grieve their beloved departed reads and then rereads the valuable guidance offered by a masterful practitioner of the art of helping people move from mourning to morning.”

Rabbi Benjamin Blech, Professor of Talmud, Yeshiva University

‘Between War and Peace’ Is Not Your Average Rabbinical Biography

Review by Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig, Jewish Link of New Jersey


The hero of this book—Rabbi She’ar Yashuv Cohen, z”l, (1927-2016)—was probably the most influential and greatest Israeli rabbi that you might never have heard of (if you don’t live in Israel). His biography, translated from the original Hebrew edition with an added chapter, makes for fascinating (and at times even amazing) reading. That’s not only because of Continue reading “‘Between War and Peace’ Is Not Your Average Rabbinical Biography”

Am I My Body’s Keeper?Torah, Science, Diet, and Fitness – for Life

Reviewed by By Rosally Saltsman in The Jewish Press

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Am I My Body’s Keeper is octogenarian Michael Kaufman’s ninth book. Kaufman writes prolifically on Jewish thought and this book is no different because keeping fit and healthy is a Jewish precept.

Venishmartem Meod Lenafshoteichem (Devarim 4:15).

Am I My Body’s Keeper? The answer is Continue reading “Am I My Body’s Keeper?Torah, Science, Diet, and Fitness – for Life”