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

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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.


Beyond Routine

May 28, 2019

Chava Pinchuck ● AJL Reviews

The Shulchan Aruch—the Code of Jewish Law (the “Code”)—was authored by Joseph Karo in 1563, and it remains the most widely accepted compilation of Jewish law ever written. Rabbi J. B. Solovetchik, z”l, articulated an “action to experience paradigm,” whereby doing the mitzvahs with intention provides a link to God. Looking at the “Code” through this lens, Rabbi Grunstein shows the reader how to elevate his observance of the commandments by knowing whether obligations are biblical, rabbinic, or custom, knowing the background and historical context, and providing practical suggestions.

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Was Yosef Autistic?

May 13, 2019

Doreen Wachmann ● Jewish Telegraph

Professor Samuel Levine’s CV runs to 22 pages, citing all his academic achievements in the field of Jewish and American law.

Yet his latest book, Was Yosef on the Spectrum? Understanding Joseph through Torah, Midrash and Classical Jewish Sources (Urim Publications) deals with a more controversial topic. He suggests that the great biblical character Joseph may have been autistic.

Many charedim nowadays see red if anyone dares to criticise heroic biblical characters. Twenty years ago, there was a riot in Manchester with the visit of Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, who had written an article suggesting that Moses was not a politician — surely a compliment rather than an insult?

So why did Prof Levine choose to stray from his usual academic paths and write on such a controversial subject?

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Mem­o­ries of a Giant: Reflec­tions on Rab­bi Dr. Joseph B. Soloveitchik, zt”l

May 7, 2019

Yaakov (Jack) Bieler ● Jewish Book Council

Rab­bi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, zt”l, was the uni­ver­sal­ly acknowl­edged leader of Mod­ern Ortho­doxy dur­ing the lat­ter half of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry, when he served as Rosh Yeshi­va of Yeshi­va Uni­ver­si­ty, head of the Halacha (Law) Com­mit­tee of the Rab­bini­cal Coun­cil of Amer­i­ca, and spir­i­tu­al men­tor for the Mizrachi reli­gious Zion­ist orga­ni­za­tion. His pass­ing on April 8th, 1993 left a pro­found void for those who looked specif­i­cal­ly to him for bril­liant and orig­i­nal Torah insights and method­ol­o­gy, guid­ance in halachic (legal) and hashkaf­ic (thought) mat­ters that have arisen due to the mod­ern expe­ri­ence, and as an exem­plar of excel­lence in Juda­ic and sec­u­lar stud­ies and their interaction.

This vol­ume is a unre­vised reis­sue of the out-of-print col­lec­tion of forty-two eulo­gies offered by fam­i­ly mem­bers, for­mer stu­dents, and admir­ers, which was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in 2003. While the eulo­gies con­tain inspir­ing per­son­al rec­ol­lec­tions, words of Torah, and mov­ing anec­dotes, one won­ders what those who first eulo­gized the Rav over twen­ty years ago may have want­ed to add to their memori­als for this incred­i­bly great man after the pass­ing of two decades.


Engaging with the Author: Samuel J. Levine

May 7, 2019

J.B. Holderness ● Yeshiva University Staff News

In December, Samuel J. Levine, Professor of law and director of the Jewish Law Institute at Touro College, published a book entitled Was Yosef on the Spectrum?: Understanding Joseph through Torah, Midrash, and Classical Jewish Sources. The book examines the behavior and relationships of Yosef through the lens of our modern understanding of autism. Our own cataloger Yosef Cohen submitted a review of the book to the author and received an appreciative response. The following are excerpts of the review and reply:

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Faith and Freedom – review

May 6, 2019

Yaakov (Jack) Bieler ● Jewish Book Council

Theologian and Jewish philosopher Rab­bi Eliez­er Berkovits (1908−92) was the author of many books of Jew­ish thought, his­to­ry, and phi­los­o­phy. For this new hag­gadah, edi­tor Reuven Mohl has select­ed pas­sages from these works to com­prise the com­men­tary that accom­pa­nies the tra­di­tion­al text.

The Passover seder has many com­po­nents, includ­ing rit­u­als, like Kid­dush (the sanc­ti­fi­ca­tion of the holy day being cel­e­brat­ed) and Hal­lel (psalms com­mem­o­rat­ing the Exo­dus expe­ri­ence); read­ing pas­sages from rab­binic lit­er­a­ture; and engag­ing in long stand­ing tra­di­tions — chil­dren ask­ing ques­tions, open­ing the door to wel­come the prophet Eli­jah, and recit­ing litur­gi­cal poems. Mohl has drawn from Rab­bi Berkovits’s incred­i­bly broad oeu­vre to pro­vide thought-pro­vok­ing insights per­tain­ing not only to the hag­gadah but also obser­va­tions that go beyond the text, includ­ing his strong advo­ca­cy for liv­ing accord­ing to halakah — Jew­ish law.

Inter­spersed with many of Rab­bi Berkovits’s more philo­soph­i­cal and the­o­log­i­cal state­ments are sto­ries and com­ments about the Holo­caust, which he expe­ri­enced first-hand. See­ing the top­ics play­ing off one anoth­er through­out the hag­gadah offers a unique insight into Rab­bi Berkovits’s expe­ri­ences and thinking.