New Review – Song of Teshuva 4

October 31, 2018

Midwest Book Review • Judaic Studies

song of teshuva 4Abraham Isaac Kook (7 September 1865 – 1 September 1935) was an Orthodox rabbi, the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of British Mandatory Palestine, the founder of Yeshiva Mercaz HaRav Kook (The Central Universal Yeshiva), a Jewish thinker, Halakhist, Kabbalist, and a renowned Torah scholar, and arguably one of the most celebrated and influential rabbis of the 20th century. Rabbi Kook’s seminal work on repentance, Oros HaTeshuvah, is recognized as a classic of Jewish thought but has, because of its difficult language and its theological depth, remained inaccessible to many. “Song of Teshuvah” presents readers with the original Hebrew text of Oros HaTeshuvah with a new translation into English, as well as expert commentary in English from Rabbi Moshe Weinberger.

Weinberger draws on his extensive knowledge of Jewish philosophical and inspirational literature to provide profound, moving, and fresh insights into the text, richly explicating the ideas in Oros HaTeshuvah in an accessible and clear but not superficial manner. Readers will come away with a firm grasp on the profound truth at the heart of Kook’s classic work: that teshuvah (repentance) is not a somber process of self-deprivation but a joyful journey back to God and to the core of each individual.

“Song of Teshuvah” covers chapters 14 through 17 of Oros HaTeshuvah and is the fourth and final volume in this simply outstanding series. “Song of Teshuvah” is unreservedly recommended for synagogue, college, and university library Judaic Studies collections in general, and Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook supplemental studies reading lists in particular.

Advertisements

Kaytek the Wizard – Recognition Award

October 17, 2018

Kaytek the Wizard

Kaytek the Wizard (written by Janusz Korczak in 1933 and translated into English by Antonia-Lloyd Jones) first premiered as a puppet play in 2016 (BriAnimations Living Entertainment).  This production has been performed across the U.S., from Tennessee to Maine to California, at festivals, schools and performing arts centers.

Image by Erika Chambers www.facebook.com/erikachambersphotography

At the August 2018 International Korczak Conference in Seattle, Washington, the production won a recognition award for introducing audiences to this man who is often referred to as “The King of Children”.

jkaward

 

A short preview of the puppet play can be seen here.


A Pioneer of the Jewish publishing Industry – Bernie Scharfstein z”l of Ktav

October 14, 2018

The New York Times

SCHARFSTEIN–Bernard, passed away peacefully at home in the loving embrace of his family on October 4, 2018 at age 92. Bernie devoted his professional life to Jewish scholarship and education. In close collaboration with his late brother, Sol, he published Jewish scholarly books and educational material at KTAV Publishing House, which was founded by his parents, Asher and Fannie in the 1940s. He was recognized for his impact on Jewish scholarship and learning with an honorary doctorate from Yeshiva University in 1997.

Born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Bernie attended Yeshiva College, where he starred on the basketball team, which in its day competed against leading college teams. He graduated from New York University and received a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. He was an avid reader of The New York Times, where many of his letters to the editor were published. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, to whom he was devoted for 59 years and their three sons, David (Sarah), Jonathan (Suzanne) and Daniel (Julie). He is also survived by nine loving grandchildren (Allison, Rebecca, Michelle, Benjamin, Julia, Kayla, Eliza, Ava and Nadia). It gave him great joy that all of his children and grandchildren were educated at Jewish day schools, where they learned from many KTAV books, and that they continue to have a deep appreciation for Judaism.

Contributions may be made to the Fannie and Asher Gemilus Chessed Fund at Yeshiva University c/o Rabbi Dr. Herbert Dobrinsky, 500 W. 185th St., BH312, NY, NY 10033.

 


New Review: Six Days of Cosmology

October 5, 2018

Alan Jay Gerber • The Jewish Press

Six Days of Cosmology.jpgNew Beginnings

It is a new year with new reviews for your reading and learning pleasure.

One of our nation’s oldest Jewish publishers, Ktav Publishing, recently brought to the Jewish reading public a fascinating literary work, “Six Days of Cosmology and Evolution: A Scientific Commentary on the Genesis Text With Rabbinic Sources” by Daniel Langer, with an endorsement from astrophysicist Dr. Amitai Bin-Nun.

With the upcoming Torah readings from the book of Genesis this timely work should serve as a unique literary experience tailored to both our religious and intellectual needs.

The method employed by the author utilizes a verse by verse analysis of the Genesis narrative of the story of the world’s creation through the use of both scientific and rabbinic “lenses”.

In his introduction the author details for us his goals in what has in previous generations proven to be a daunting literary experience.

“The aim of this book is to demonstrate that the Torah’s account of Creation is not in conflict with the sciences of cosmology, geology, or evolution. This requires an understanding of the nature of time, the overlapping character of the six days, and the use of homonyms in the Bible.”

Further on the author details the following very candid sentiments:

“This approach will be criticized from the left and from the right. Fundamentalists who hold a literal reading of Scripture may object to the suggestion that words in the Torah can mean different things to different generations, or that passages can be reinterpreted in ways that conform to empirical data and scientific theory. Scholars on the left hold that the Torah is not a science text: treating it as such distorts its message.”

The author concludes his introductory thesis with the following teaching from that great scholar Rabbi Elie Munk, zt”l, from his classical commentary, “The Call of the Torah” where he teaches us the following:

“The Torah does not stipulate as an absolute act of faith that G-d exists. Indeed, the existence of G-d is presupposed throughout, but it is not the object of a proof, nor even of a doubt. But the word order in the initial verse of the Torah [The word “God” appears after “created”] discreetly suggests that we seek out G-d in Creation, and so progressively acquire with our intelligence that which faith puts forward to us at the beginning of our human experience. For faith is crowned by knowledge.”

The timely publication of this work beginning with the reading of Sefer Bereishis makes for a very fortunate religious literary decision.

Do read and enjoy this new literary contribution.


New Review: Scholarly Man of Faith

October 4, 2018

Ben Rothke • Jewish Press

Scholarly Man of Faith

For someone whose educational career spanned over 50 years, the number of books from Rav Joseph B. Soloveitchik is rather scant. While there are a number of articles from him, the number of books he wrote is few.

Rabbi Jonathan Ziring quotes Rabbi Mosheh Lichtenstein and explained the reason why there are relatively few books from Rav Soloveitchik and from his father Rav Aharon Lichtenstein (Rav Soloveitchik’s son-in-law). He explained that in Europe, there were many great European rabbis who lived in very small towns and the entirety of their creative enterprise was based in writing. They did this as their rabbinic duties didn’t take up much of their time, or demand much of their intellectual energies. But as these figures become roshei yeshiva, their creative enterprise was with their students, and their writings become much less.

Read the rest of this entry »