New Review – Berkovits Haggadah

March 20, 2019

Israel Drazin

Hungarian-born scholar Eliezer Berkovits (1908-1992) was a highly respected Orthodox rabbi. He was educated in Berlin, Germany, where he received his PhD. He authored 19 books in several languages.

He held fast to traditional beliefs such as that the Israelites met God at Sinai where God gave them both the Written and the Oral Torahs. He felt that halakha, Jewish law, is necessary to control people from acting against their own and society’s best interest. He explained that during the Holocaust God “hid his face,” hester panim, because God wants humans to use their free will even if they do so in a harmful fashion. He stressed the importance of Zionism. Although he recognized that women are not treated well in matters of marriage and divorce, and believed that both sexes are equal, he did not encourage changes in Jewish law.

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New Review – A Torah Giant

March 12, 2019

Jewish Book World

Discover the breadth of wisdom provided by this generation’s giant of Torah: Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg. Rabbi Yitz is one of the most renowned leaders in contemporary Jewish communal life. His dedication to foster a more interconnected and vibrant Judaism has been felt across the academic and broader world. In this new work, the legacy of Rabbi Yitz is discussed at length by those who have been affected by his inclusive model of contemporary Judaism, his approachable erudition, commitment to fostering meaningful interfaith dialogue, and constant striving to make the world a more just place. These intellectual progenies divulge the lasting impact Rabbi Yitz has had on their lives and the lives of people around the globe.


Author Event – Dirty Jewess

March 6, 2019
Dirty Jewess
A Woman’s Courageous Journey to Religious and Political Freedom
Available for order at Urim Publications

Bd”H – Father of ‘Lone Soldiers’

January 9, 2019

Times of Israel

Zvika Levy, Israel Prize-winning ‘father of lone soldiers,’ dies aged 70

Zvika (Zvi) Levy, an Israel Prize-winning social activist known as “the father of lone soldiers” in Israel, passed away on Saturday at age 70 after years of suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a muscular disease.


Education Minister Naftali Bennett, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin with Zvi Levy, recipient of an Israel Prize for lifetime achievement, at the International Conference Center (ICC) in Jerusalem on May 2, 2017. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Levy founded the Lone Soldiers organization in 1997, which supports some 3,500 young people annually who leave their families, usually abroad, to volunteer for Israeli army service. The organization also serves more than 1,500 Israeli soldiers who come from disadvantaged backgrounds or are estranged from their parents.

After a long career in the paratroopers unit, he has looked after lone soldiers from more than 40 countries, with most coming from the former Soviet Union, the US, Europe, Ethiopia, and South America.

In the ceremony for the Israel Prize in 2017, Levy accepted his award from a wheelchair, to a standing ovation.

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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.


New and Forthcoming from Urim Publications

November 26, 2018

A Pioneer of the Jewish publishing Industry – Bernie Scharfstein z”l of Ktav

October 14, 2018

The New York Times

SCHARFSTEIN–Bernard, passed away peacefully at home in the loving embrace of his family on October 4, 2018 at age 92. Bernie devoted his professional life to Jewish scholarship and education. In close collaboration with his late brother, Sol, he published Jewish scholarly books and educational material at KTAV Publishing House, which was founded by his parents, Asher and Fannie in the 1940s. He was recognized for his impact on Jewish scholarship and learning with an honorary doctorate from Yeshiva University in 1997.

Born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Bernie attended Yeshiva College, where he starred on the basketball team, which in its day competed against leading college teams. He graduated from New York University and received a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. He was an avid reader of The New York Times, where many of his letters to the editor were published. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, to whom he was devoted for 59 years and their three sons, David (Sarah), Jonathan (Suzanne) and Daniel (Julie). He is also survived by nine loving grandchildren (Allison, Rebecca, Michelle, Benjamin, Julia, Kayla, Eliza, Ava and Nadia). It gave him great joy that all of his children and grandchildren were educated at Jewish day schools, where they learned from many KTAV books, and that they continue to have a deep appreciation for Judaism.

Contributions may be made to the Fannie and Asher Gemilus Chessed Fund at Yeshiva University c/o Rabbi Dr. Herbert Dobrinsky, 500 W. 185th St., BH312, NY, NY 10033.