Richard H. Schwartz on Belgium’s Shechita Ban

January 21, 2019

Richard H. Schwartz The Jerusalem Post

WHY BELGIUM’S BAN ON KOSHER SLAUGHTER IS WRONG

The recent Belgian government ban of shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter) overlooks some important considerations.

The recent Belgian government ban of shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter) overlooks some important considerations.

First, it ignores the many problems related to stunning, their preferred method of slaughter. These are thoroughly covered in the book Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the US Meat Industry, by Gail Eisnitz. Through many interviews with slaughterhouse workers and USDA inspectors, she carefully documents in gut-wrenching, chilling detail the widespread, unspeakable torture and death at US slaughterhouses where animals are stunned prior to slaughter.

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New Review – Was Yosef on the Spectrum

January 14, 2019

Alan Jay Gerber ● The Jewish Star

The Legacy of Yosef

This week’s Torah reading, Vayigash, reflects the narrative of the reconciliation of Yosef and his brothers, and the reunion with his father, Yaakov. There is much to be said of this saga. One very timely book on this biblical legacy is Was Yosef On The Spectrum? Understanding Yosef Through Torah, Midrash, and Classical Jewish Sources [Urim Publications, 2019] by Prof. Samuel Levine.

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OU Israel Event – Heal Us O Lord

January 14, 2019


Hardcover, 90 pages
KTAV Publishing House and Urim Publications, 2018
ISBN: 978-965-524-275-1

New Review – Six Days of Cosmology and Evolution

January 13, 2019

Ben Rothke ● Jewish Link of New Jersey

In “The Lonely Man of Faith,” Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik writes that he has never been seriously troubled by the problem of the Biblical doctrine of creation vis-à-vis the scientific story of evolution at both the cosmic and the organic levels. While it was not a problem for him, it can nonetheless be quite disconcerting for some people. For many others, the supposed scientific conflicts between the Chumash and modern science has them leaving the world of faith for the world of science.

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New Review – Was Yosef on the Spectrum

January 10, 2019

Dr. Deena R. Zimmerman ● Jewish Press

When I first saw the title of the book, I admit I did a double-take. What could be the connection between the biblical character about whom the Torah gives us so much personal information and a developmental condition that is currently on the rise? As a pediatrician, I certainly have heard a lot about “the spectrum” and at no point, before reading this book, did the idea cross my mind.

However, that is exactly the beauty of this book. It takes a story that we have heard/read/taught multiple times and makes one look at it in a new light. Chapter by chapter the author analyses the interactions of Yosef through the prism of autistic spectrum disorder. Some of the examples are rather convincing. The author’s argument helps understand why Yosef often seems so incredibly self-centered and why much of his family found him annoying. Others are somewhat less so, but nevertheless give one pause to think through the story again.

Some readers might feel uncomfortable assigning one of our great leaders a diagnosis that would render him less than perfect. However, throughout the book the author weaves in information about high functioning autism that shows that people with this diagnosis can achieve great heights. This is yet another important contribution of this book.

In summary, I found the book interesting and thought provoking and I would recommend it to all.


New Review – Was Yosef on the Spectrum

January 10, 2019

Justice Elyakim Rubinstein Deputy President (Ret.) The Supreme Court of Israel

Professor Levine has masterfully challenged us with a completely new reading of Joseph’s saga. While intuitively one may be surprised by the original idea of Joseph being on the spectrum, so different from what we would usually contemplate, the richness of varied sources and the deep psychological analysis are rather compelling. The book provokes much thought, and Sam Levine should be commended for a fresh contribution to the study of Genesis-Bereishit.


New Review – The Jewish Spiritual Path

January 9, 2019

Rabbi Simcha Snaid ● Jewish Press

The mission of this book is to illuminate the Jewish spiritual path by utilizing ideas from Kabbalah regarding the Holy Name of Hashem, the Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh. As the author explains, the goal of the Jewish spiritual path is essentially to become closer to the infinite G-d by developing certain middos (good spiritual qualities).

The four letters of the Name represent four aspects of G-d, and also four levels of spiritual growth. Just as G-d has more “outward” or revealed aspects, and more “inward” or hidden aspects, so too the Jewish spiritual path begins with basic middos and advances to more elevated middos. Interestingly, the last letter of the Name corresponds to the more outward and lower level, while the first letter of the Name corresponds to the more inward and advanced level. It turns out that the Jewish spiritual path involves following the “way of the Name” or, in Hebrew, DerechHashem. Hence, the title of the book.

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New Review – The Jewish Spiritual Path

January 9, 2019

Midwest Book Review ● The Judaic Studies Shelf

There is a leading belief in Kabbalah that the Tetragrammaton, the four lettered Hebrew name of God, serves as a model for the ideal of spiritual living. Each letter of the Name corresponds to a certain aspect of God and a specific phase of spiritual growth. At the same time, the four letters correspond to the four stages of the traditional Jewish morning prayer. This prayer serves as a spiritual exercise through which a person may cultivate the spiritual virtues associated with each of the four letters of God’s Name.

In “The Jewish Spiritual Path: The Way of the Name” by Rabbi Joshua Golding (Professor of Philosophy specializing in Philosophy of Religion and Jewish Philosophy at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky) combines a theoretical presentation of Kabbalistic concepts with practical guidance rooted in prayer to cultivate a deep spirituality based on the moral and mystical teachings of Judaism. “The Jewish Spiritual Path” provides both an extended commentary on prayer and an intellectually rigorous spiritual self-help book.

Exceptionally well written, organized and presented, “The Jewish Spiritual Path” is an extraordinary study that is as informed and informative as it is thoughtful and thought-provoking, making it a valued and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, rabbinical, community, and academic library Judaic Studies collections and supplemental studies lists.


Bd”H – Father of ‘Lone Soldiers’

January 9, 2019

Times of Israel

Zvika Levy, Israel Prize-winning ‘father of lone soldiers,’ dies aged 70

Zvika (Zvi) Levy, an Israel Prize-winning social activist known as “the father of lone soldiers” in Israel, passed away on Saturday at age 70 after years of suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a muscular disease.


Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin with Zvi Levy, recipient of an Israel Prize for lifetime achievement, at the International Conference Center (ICC) in Jerusalem on May 2, 2017. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Levy founded the Lone Soldiers organization in 1997, which supports some 3,500 young people annually who leave their families, usually abroad, to volunteer for Israeli army service. The organization also serves more than 1,500 Israeli soldiers who come from disadvantaged backgrounds or are estranged from their parents.

After a long career in the paratroopers unit, he has looked after lone soldiers from more than 40 countries, with most coming from the former Soviet Union, the US, Europe, Ethiopia, and South America.

In the ceremony for the Israel Prize in 2017, Levy accepted his award from a wheelchair, to a standing ovation.

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New Review – Am I My Body’s Keeper?

January 7, 2019

Arthur G. Quinn AJL Reviews

The author has had a career as a scholar, author, and lecturer in Israel and the United States, and has written several books on Judaism, and Jewish art and culture. The book begins with an introduction, followed by eleven chapters. Each chapter is introduced with a quotation by Maimonides, referred to in the book as Rambam. The underlying theme of each chapter is the practice of healthy diet and exercise as consistent with halakhah (Jewish law). Both the quotations of Rambam and the contemporary interpretation of those quotations provide guidance for a holistic lifestyle that includes preventive medicine, cleanliness, practicing good personal habits, avoiding inactivity, and diet and exercise that extend life.

The tenth chapter is dedicated to outlining best practices for those over fifty, emphasizing diet and exercise as essential in order to maintain a rewarding quality of life into the senior years. In addition to Rambam’s advice, the author has included considerable medical research to support his thesis cited in the end notes. At the same time, the topic is presented in layman’s language, often summarizing the major points in brief terms.

This volume would be a welcome addition to any non-fiction adult collection.