New Review – Dirty Jewess

December 5, 2018

Elka Weber ● Segula Magazine

This sweet, tough, and charmingly amateurish memoir is the story of a tenacious woman. Sylvia Fishbaum grew up in Slovakia after World War II. Her parents braved anti-Semitism and maintained a traditional Jewish lifestyle in a country where Jews were nearly extinct.

After the rise of Communism, life became harder both materially and emotionally, but Fishbaum’s irrepressible confidence served her well. As a young woman, she sewed clothes and sold them on the black market in the Ukraine to finance her escape to the United States.

A chance meeting with a Jewish family on its way to Israel alerted Sylvia to the existence of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society in Rome. After careful, clandestine planning, Fishbaum left behind an apartment and a job,made her way to Rome, and eventually moved to New York. There she married a co-owner of an iconic kosher pizzeria in Manhattan, raised two sons, and lived the American dream.

After her husband’s early death from heart disease, Sylvia dedicated herself to reviving Jewish life in Slovakia. Fishbaum’s wellsprings of willpower and self-deprecating humor make for a compelling read.

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Dvar Torah on Parshat Vayeshev – Was Yosef on the Spectrum

December 3, 2018

Jason Ciment recently gave a short dvar torah on parshat Vayeshev, influenced by Dr. Samuel Levine’s new book Was Yosef on the Spectrum?.

Watch it here: 

Available for order on
Urim Publications

New Review – Was Yosef on the Spectrum?

December 2, 2018

Jewish Media Review · Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins

Yosef’s behaviors, interpersonal relationships, and personal development are often difficult to understand, and at times seem to defy explanation. This book offers a coherent and cohesive reading of the well-known Bible story, presenting a portrait of Yosef as an individual on the autism spectrum. Viewed through this lens, Yosef emerges as a more familiar and less enigmatic individual, exhibiting both strengths and weaknesses commonly associated with autism spectrum disorder.

“Sam Levine was my student in yeshiva, and I have known him for decades….I enjoyed his book on Yosef, which presents a thoughtful and creative literary analysis of the story, based on a close reading of the Chumash, midrashim, and classical meforshim.”
Rav Menachem MendelBlachman, Senior Ra”m at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh

Samuel J. Levine is a Professor of Law and Director of the Jewish Law Institute at Touro Law Center. He has served as the Beznos Distinguished Professor at Michigan State University College of Law, and he has taught at the law schools of Bar-Ilan, Fordham, Pepperdine, and St. John’s Universities.


New and Forthcoming from Urim Publications

November 26, 2018

New Article by “American Interests” Author Lenny Ben-David

November 19, 2018

The Patriarch Isaac and the Aussie Light Horsemen

What the Capture of Beersheva in 1917 Taught Me about Isaac

I am ashamed to say it, but when I was a kid I thought Isaac, the Jewish patriarch, was a wuss: a good son, a spitting image of his father, a willing volunteer to be sacrificed to God, a learned man, and a farmer. But he didn’t travel the world like his father Abraham – from Babylon to southern Turkey, to Canaan, Egypt, Philistine, and back to Canaan. He wasn’t a warrior like Abraham who commanded 300 fighters on a forced march from the Dead Sea to Damascus to battle kings. Isaac paled in comparison to his son Jacob who raised 12 sons and a daughter, prepared defensive formations to meet a threatening Esau, and traveled to Egypt. Jacob was the founder of the people of Israel, his namesake.

While the lives, travels, and travails of Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph are spread across much of the book of Genesis, the story of Isaac barely fills this week’s Torah Parsha, Toldot. What was remarkable about his story in the Bible? Well, the Torah relates, he dug wells, he opened wells that had been sealed by the Philistines, and he gave names to the wells.

Rabbinic literature compares flowing water to the Torah – essential for life – and the rabbis credit Isaac for the nurturing Torah he provided. Three of his wells were given names related to the first and second Temples, according to tradition, and the third name signified the third, future Temple. And wells always played an important role for the romances of the Torah – by a well Abraham’s servant found Rivka, Isaac’s eventual wife. Hagar, Abraham’s second wife, found refuge at a well where later Isaac first met Rivka. And Moses met his wife Zipporah by a well.

Read the rest of this entry »

New Review -Jewish Guide to Practical Medical Decision-Making

November 15, 2018

Barbara Bensoussan • Mishpacha Magazine

Of Life and Death

Jason Weiner never dreamed he’d be a hospital chaplain. But the nationally recognized expert on medical halachah and pastoral counseling helps Jewish patients make the most important decisions of their life.

Medical Decisions web 1 dr

With close to 1,000 patient beds, Cedars Sinai Hospital on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles is a small village. It includes multiple buildings and four parking lots. The hospitals’ interiors are modern and sleek, with spacious rooms and high-ceilinged lobbies adorned with framed modern art work. To make its affiliation clear, a white Magen David hangs atop the main building. Read the rest of this entry »


New Review – Jewish Guide to Practical Medical Decision-Making

November 11, 2018

Judy Simon • Arutz Sheva

The Fine Line Between Life and Death: The Hospital Rabbi

Medical Decisions web 1

Rabbi Jason Weiner is a hospital chaplain. He guides people through intense moments in life, death, and everything in between.

When Rabbi Jason Weiner finished Rabbinical School and acquired Smicha (rabbinic ordination), the one thing he knew is that he never wanted to work in a hospital setting.

Apparently, G-d had other plans for him. Read the rest of this entry »