Book Review: Was Yosef On The Spectrum?

June 27, 2019

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer ● The New Normal ● The New York Jewish Week

The story of Joseph is among the Torah’s best-known and most intriguing tales.  In a new book, Was Yosef On The Spectrum? Understanding Joseph Through Torah, Midrash and Classical Jewish SourcesSamuel J. Levine, a professor of Law and Director of the Jewish Law Institute at Touro Law Center, presents a thorough, compelling theory about why Yosef struggles with social understanding—not only in childhood but also throughout his adult life.

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Was Yosef on the Spectrum – Review

June 26, 2019

Samantha Craft

Levine provides an insightful and thought provoking look at the feasibility that the beloved biblical character Joseph was on the autism spectrum. Extremely well-researched, Was Yosef on the Spectrum?, illuminates the multiple attributes of an autistic individual through Joseph’s lived experiences. As an autistic self-advocate, I found myself nodding and smiling in recognition of myself in Joseph. Thanks goes to Levine for sharing his lens into the biblical aspects of autism through a story filled with challenges, insights, and wisdom, and for establishing a once-lived voice for the millions on the spectrum. 

Samantha Craft is an autistic advocate, a NeuroGuides coach, and the author of Everyday Aspergers: A Journey on the Autism Spectrum, and co-author of Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism


The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values, Between Man and Man

June 25, 2019

Midwest Book Review ● The Judaic Studies Shelf

Rabbi Dr. Nachum Amsel is the director of education at the Destiny Foundation and the author of The Jewish Encyclopedia of Moral and Ethical Issues and The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values. With “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values: Between Man and Man” Rabbi Amsel provides a continuation to his widely praised “Encyclopedia of Jewish Values”.

“The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values: Between Man and Man” is a deftly organized compendium of Jewish values and ethics that deal with human interaction. The topics addressed in this work include Jewish attitudes to leadership, business ethics, modesty with dress, self-defense, peer pressure, family, friendships, and more.

Gleaning from the Bible and classic Jewish texts, as well as later authorities such as Maimonides, Nachmanides, Rashi, and the Code of Jewish Law, “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values: Between Man and Man” is accessible to readers of many backgrounds.

“The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values: Between Man and Man” covers a veritable compendium topics that range from: Animals – How Jews Should Relate; Antisemitism and Amalek; Business Ethics; Civil Disobedience; Climate Change – Is It a Jewish Issue? and Drugs, Alcohol & Marijuana – Are They Ever Permitted in Judaism?; Ethics of Torture in Judaism; Family – the Key to Jewish and World; Redemption; Friendship; Getting Old, Being Old and Senility; to Going Beyond What is Required: Good Idea or Obligatory?; Honesty and Cheating; Human Dignity, Human Embarrassment, and Humiliating Oneself; Individuality and Conformity; Jewish Happiness; Jewish Hospitality – Hachnasat Orchim; Jewish Leadership – What is It?; Universal Healthcare (Obamacare) from the Jewish Perspective; and so much more!

Critique: Deftly organized alphabetically from Advertising to War, “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values: Between Man and Man” is enhanced for easier access with a five page Index and a complete listing of Hebrew Sources. An impressively organized and presented work of meticulous and exhaustive scholarship, “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values: Between Man and Man” is unreservedly recommended for personal, synagogue, community, college, and university library Judaic Studies collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists.


Waste Not, Want Not Kosher Cookbook

June 24, 2019

Midwest Book Review ● The Cookbook Shelf

In “Waste Not, Want Not Kosher Cookbook: Creative Ways to Serve Yesterday’s Meal”, author and kosher cooking expert Yaffa Fruchter promotes a unique and exciting approach to making leftovers new again in palate pleasing, appetite satisfying, kosher dishes suitable for any and all dining occasions.

Boasting a collection of over 120 beautifully illustrated and innovative recipes, “Waste Not, Want Not Kosher Cookbook” is culinary compendium that offers a comprehensive guide of the best, safest, and most delicious ways to use what’s on hand and eat well for kosher households. To curb her own food-waster’s guilt, Yaffa developed creative ways of using available ingredients to produce excellent new dishes that will change the way you look at last night’s meals — including 30 recipes that use cooked chicken, 15 that use bread and challah, and so much more!

Critique: A unique and superbly organized cookbook that is inspiring to plan kosher menus and meals using leftovers, “Waste Not, Want Not Kosher Cookbook” is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal, family, and community library ethnic cookbook collections.


Rabbinic Authority Vol. 4

June 3, 2019

Daniel D. Stuhlman ● AJL Reviews

Rabbi Warburg continues his series on Jewish law in this fourth volume of Rabbinic Authority. If you don’t have the previous three volumes, you should purchase them because Warburg refers to them so that he does not have to repeat material. This volume deals with issues concerning children within a divorce proceeding as well as issues surrounding the agunah (lit. ‘chained wife’). When dissolving a marriage without co-operating parties the Beit Din (religious court) will on rare occasions declare the initial kiddushin (marriage ceremony) was mistaken (called bittul kiddushin or kiddushin ta’ut). This means the marriage is annulled and was a mistake. Warburg discusses the Halkhah and precedent for ending a marriage when both parties don’t agree, as well as the definition of marriage and ways of ending a marriage with a coerced get or without a get.

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Author Event with Silvia Fishbaum – June 2, 2019

June 2, 2019

An event not to be missed

A Woman’s Courageous Journey to Religious & Political Freedom

Sunday, June 2, 7:30 pm

@ Bridgeworks, 780 Long Beach Blvd. Long Beach NY

On the 40th anniversary of her freedom, Silvia Fishbaum will share her remarkable story of her escape from Soviet occupied Czechoslovakia and anti-Semitism.

In today’s world with anti Semitism rising it’s ugly head throughout Europe and reaching its highest levels ever in the United States with attacks on Synagogues, this lecture is of paramount importance, especially for young adults and teens in the middle school and high school.

After sharing her extraordinary story, Silvia will be available for book signing opportunities.

Light refreshments. FREE Entry
Sponsor $100 includes an autographed book by Silvia Fishbaum. 
Click here to reserve


The Day I Met Father Isaac at the Supermarket

June 2, 2019

Fred Isaac ● AJL Reviews

Rabbi Riemer may be best known for So that Your Values May Live On, his wonderful volume on ethical wills. The Day I Met My Father Isaac… is a smaller, easy-to-read, and wise book meant for a broader audience. It contains some of his sermons while serving as interim Rabbi at Anshe Shalom Congregation in Florida. The book contains drashot (homilies) on thirty-five of the weekly parashot (Torah readings). In them Riemer explores both Torah issues and their parallels in modern life using stories, gentle humor, and a touch of irony. Beginning with Lech Lecha (“A Sermon addressed to the rich people in this Congregation”), his subjects include Yitro (“The Super Bowl and the Sedra”), Bechukotai (“Some of my favorite curses”), and Korach (“Too much rightness can kill you”). Each derasha begins with a story; most of them are contemporary, while others come from the Talmud and the Hasidic literature. They are witty and easy to connect with. He then turns to the Torah and links his introduction to the moral of the parashah. Some of his connections are quite powerful, others are sweet. But all are meaningful. The volume concludes with his “Farewell Shabbat” comments: “The lessons you have taught me.” In this talk he reminds his audience that, at their best, teachers are also students.

There has been a plethora of books over the past few years to assist B’nai Mitzvah students with their drashot. This delightful collection of sermons can be used by 12-year-olds. It would be better employed by adults looking for inspiration, as well as to create their own commentaries. It is a fine (and fun) addition to any synagogue library.