July 17, 2018
Rivkah Lambert Adler • The Jerusalem Post
Silvia Fishbaum fought her way to freedom and a new life in America
After World War II, two Holocaust survivors settled in Czechoslovakia and had three daughters. The youngest, Sophia, “was known as the little rabble-rouser.” Born with an impulsive nature, Sophia, now known as Silvia Fishbaum, fought, practically from birth, against the limitations of her life as a member of the only Jewish family in a small Czechoslovakian village. Her memoir, Dirty Jewess: A Woman’s Courageous Journey to Religious and Political Freedom, tells the story of her life and her adventures.
Though Fishbaum’s mother worked hard at it, keeping Shabbat special and maintaining a semblance of the preciousness of Judaism was a constant challenge in rural Czechoslovakia. Even as a child, she was already accustomed to being publicly insulted for being a Jew. In Chapter 6, she describes a particularly offensive encounter with an old man on a tram in the relatively large city of Košice.
July 2, 2018
Elliot Resnick • Jewish Press
Translating one peirush on Chumash is hard enough. Translating 15 is nothing short of remarkable. But Eliyahu Munk has done just that. The Ohr HaChaim, the Alshich, the Akeidas Yitzchak, the Kedushas Levi, the Ksav v’Hakabalah, the Chizkuni, the Shelah, the Tzror Hamor, the Tur, Rabbeinu Bachye – all translated into English by one man.
And he’s still going strong. At age 96, Eliyahu Munk is now translating the Meshech Chachmah. Amazed at this literary output, The Jewish Press recently called Eliyahu Munk in Israel to speak to him about his life and work.
The Jewish Press: What’s your background?
Munk: I was born in Frankfurt, Germany. My father came from Cologne and taught mathematics, chemistry, and physics.
I attended Rav Joseph Breuer’s yeshiva 10 hours every week. He taught me the haftarot, and the way he made a navi come to life is something I haven’t forgotten. He had a knack of making a navi talk to you. It was a terrific thing. Read the rest of this entry »
June 6, 2018
Debbie Weissman • Times of Israel
In the mid-20th century, the great American Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel credibly wrote “Judaism today is the least known religion.” But recent decades have seen Christians making impressive efforts to fill in the knowledge gap. For many years, I have had the privilege of teaching groups of Christians who come to Jerusalem from throughout the world. Many of them are priests, pastors and nuns on sabbatical; some are lay people. They come from anywhere from a week to a year and my involvement varies, depending on the length and depth of the program. The programs are held at Christian institutions in and around Jerusalem.
I teach them about Judaism and about Israel. I give introductions to the Christians who visit our synagogue on Friday nights for prayers, and we sometimes also provide them with home hospitality for Shabbat dinners. It is fascinating to note what questions they ask. In one case, a young woman was surprised that our sanctuary was not decorated with pictures of Moses. Once, I told a group of seminarians that they were imposing Christian questions on Judaism; what interested them almost exclusively were Read the rest of this entry »
June 3, 2018
Sidra DeKoven Ezrahi • Tikkun
“Reading Debbie Weissman’s memoir leaves us with some hope… whose teaching and writing in Israel and the Diaspora and commitment to dialogue between people of different faiths have had a world-wide impact…. An insight into the principles by which Debbie guides her own behavior can be seen as she adopts a modified version of Levinas’ teaching that we should see the “face of God in the Other.” “It would be enough,” she says, “if we could just look at the Other and see a face no less human than our own.”
April 30, 2018
Midwest Book Review • The Holocaust Studies Shelf
Born in post-Holocaust, communist Czechoslovakia, Silvia Fishbaum has devoted her life to the commemoration of the Holocaust and her childhood art tutor and Holocaust survivor, Ludovit Feld. She is a member of the Czech and Slovak Jewish Historical Society and is affiliated with the Holocaust museum and Tolerance Center in Glen Cove, New York. In 2012, Fishbaum was the keynote speaker at the Holocaust Memorial commemoration and the opening for the exhibition of a private collection of Ludovit Feld’s art.
“Dirty Jewess: A Woman’s Courageous Journey to Religious and Political Freedom ” is her personal story her courageous journey towards religious and political freedom, all while coming of age in post-Holocaust, communist Czechoslovakia. In “Dirty Jewess” she recalls her experience as a child of Holocaust survivors, living as a refugee in Rome, and finally realizing her dream of becoming a successful American citizen. Silvia Fishbaum’s life behind the iron curtain is a universal tale of humanity, resilience, and overcoming adversity. Of special note is that she weaves together her mother’s testimony of Auschwitz with the testimony of her childhood art tutor, Ludovit Feld (who was a victim of Mengele’s infamous experiments) to create a compelling and layered life narrative.
A critically important contribution to the growing library of Holocaust survivors personal memoirs and autobiographies, “Dirty Jewess” is especially and unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library collections, as well as the personal reading lists of both academia and non-specialist general readers with an interest in the subject.