The Autism Question and Beyond: Rereading the Joseph Saga

January 5, 2020

Yitzchak Blau ● Lehrhaus

Most readers of Samuel J. Levine’s Was Yosef on the Spectrum? Understanding Joseph Through Torah, Midrash, and Classical Jewish Sources will likely focus their energies on the question in the book’s title. Is it appropriate to attribute autism to one of our biblical heroes? Are the author’s arguments for such a thesis persuasive? Yet it would be a shame if that issue exhausted discussion about a volume which deals with many significant interpretative questions regarding the Joseph narrative. Levine, a professor of Law and Director of the Jewish Law Institute at the Touro Law Center, has done an impressive amount of research, combing the traditional commentaries and midrashim for relevant material, and reading the verses quite carefully. Following up on his footnotes provides ample reward, particularly since Levine addresses the later chapters in Genesis which many Humash students do not get to. After evaluating the central thesis, this review will then explore some important ideas in Levine’s work.

To read the entire review, click here.


Was Yosef on the Spectrum – New Review

December 12, 2019

Michele Justic ● Five Towns Jewish Times

The story of Yosef can be a puzzling one. The cast is set of one of our Avos, Yaakov, and his 12 sons — all presumed to be tzadikim, before shifting to Mitzrayim where the greatest leaders in Egypt get mixed into the sibling rivalry madness. According to the literal interpretation, these tzadikim certainly seem like bad boys, in effect trying to kill their brother and deceive their father.

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Featured – Heal Us O Lord

December 9, 2019

Hadassah Magazine’s Guide to Jewish Literature

“During my teaching career I often had students entering the field of medicine and nursing. I would tell them to always remember that they are doing God’s work. Rabbi Dr. Goldstein is such a person, who did God’s work as a chaplain for close to forty years… Rabbis, social workers, physicians, nurses and children with aging parents will want to read this book.”
-Rabbi Dr. Norman Strickman.


Featured – I Am for My Beloved

December 5, 2019

Hadassah Magazine’s Guide to Jewish Literature

Forthright and frank, yet respectful and sensitive, this book will help couples enrich their marital and sexual lives, and maintain passion and intimacy within the framework of Jewish tradition. I Am for My Beloved conveys essential information about intimacy—with an informative and practical approach. The information provided in this book will enable couples to enjoy a more open and fulfilling intimate connection, both emotionally and physically.


New Review – I Am for My Beloved

December 3, 2019

Bob Bahr ● Atlanta Jewish Times

“…A featured speaker at the same conference was Talli Rosenbaum, an American-born psychotherapist and certified sex therapist, who works with Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem and in Beit Shemesh.

Now two years later she has just written a book with another sex therapist, who is an Orthodox rabbi and graduate of Yeshiva University in New York. The book, “I Am For My Beloved: A Guide to Enhanced Intimacy for Married Couples,” went on sale Nov. 14 in Israel and will be published in the United States early next year.
The emphasis of the book is less on the physical side of sex, the how-to of sexual performance, than about the need to cultivate intimacy, Rosenbaum said.

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Featured – Jews in Medicine

December 2, 2019

Hadassah Magazine’s Guide to Jewish Literature

No specialized medical or Jewish knowledge is required to appreciate the fascinating history of medical contributions made by Jewish physicians throughout the ages. Profiles of more than 450 Jewish physicians are divided by region and area of specialization, all within a historical context. A perfect gift for a beloved doctor or medical student.


Straight from the book – Was Yosef on the Spectrum

December 1, 2019

“Pharaoh realizes that, given Yosef’s self-absorption, his lack of social skills, and his inability to navigate social challenges, Yosef is vulnerable to the maneuverings of those who are more clever, cunning, and calculating. Pharaoh has maintained power through shrewd utilization of his formidable political savvy, but Yosef is particularly ill-suited to deal with the bare-knuckled world of politics and the sharks who will be looking for every opportunity to hurt him – and possibly, by extension, cause harm to Pharaoh himself. Pharaoh preempts these threats by giving Yosef a new and honorable name – and with it a new persona – as well as a wife, who can help protect him from the attacks and advances of others. Significantly, Pharaoh selects a woman who is from a distinguished family – possibly the family of Potiphar – who not only bestows further honor on Yosef by virtue of her pedigree, but who is presumably familiar with the intrigue and machinations of royal politics, and along with her family will be able to anticipate and help ward off challenges to Yosef.  With these in place, Yosef is finally safe to go out on his own, leaving the protective watch of Pharaoh and traveling throughout the Land of Egypt.  

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