‘Between War and Peace’ Is Not Your Average Rabbinical Biography

December 4, 2017

Review by Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig, Jewish Link of New Jersey

r-shear-yashuv

The hero of this book—Rabbi She’ar Yashuv Cohen, z”l, (1927-2016)—was probably the most influential and greatest Israeli rabbi that you might never have heard of (if you don’t live in Israel). His biography, translated from the original Hebrew edition with an added chapter, makes for fascinating (and at times even amazing) reading. That’s not only because of Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

To Play With Fire

November 29, 2017

Arutz 7 • Originally featured on “Walter’s World”

To Play With Fire 9789657108352 IPG specifications.jpg

“How a tormented soul returned to its Jewish home. The extraordinary story of Tova Mordechai…. You will be both amazed and spellbound by this sometimes harrowing, sometimes comical, powerful account of Tova Mordechai’s incredible journey to rediscover her Jewish heritage after she had succeeded to reach the highest rank as minister of her church.”

Follow this link to listen to the program featuring Tova Mordechai’s To Play With Fire. 

Available for purchase from www.urimpublications.com

 


Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen: Between War and Peace

November 26, 2017

Daniel D. Stuhlman, AJL Reviews

r-shear-yashuv

“Rabbi Eliyahu Yosef Shear Yashuv Cohen (1927-2016) had his feet in more than one world. He fought in the battle for Jerusalem in the 1948-49 war and was taken prisoner to Jordan when the Old City fell, hence the subtitle “Between War and Peace.” One chapter is his diary from the battle and his captivity. After the war, he was appointed chief chaplain of the Air Force. His brother-in-law Rabbi Shlomo Goren was the chief chaplain of the army. In 1953, he married Naomi Goldstein the daughter of Rabbi Herbert Goldstein of New York and grand-daughter of Harry Fischel.

As chief rabbi of the Israel Air Force and of the city of Haifa he had frequent meetings with Jews of many levels of observance and with Arabs and Christians. He even went to Rome to meet the Pope and address the synod of the Catholic Church. He was respected by religious leaders, heads of state, public figures and his own community in Haifa and Jerusalem.

This is an interesting book that introduces Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen to a new audience even though he died less than 2 years ago. The book is highly recommended for academic, synagogue, school, and personal collections.

Frisch, Yechiel & Yedidya HaCohen. Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen: Between War and Peace. Translated by Irene Lancaster. Jerusalem; New York: Urim Publications, 2017. 334 pp. (9789655243539).


Rabbi Dr. Yitz Greenberg with a copy of ‘A Torah Giant’

October 25, 2017

yitz holding our book

Rabbi Dr. Irving (Yitz) Greenberg holding a copy of

A Torah Giant edited by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz

 

torah giant web 1Discover 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, 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.

 

Edited by Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz
Foreword by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Introduction by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin
Hardcover, 344 pages
KTAV Publishing House and Urim Publications 2018
ISBN 978-965-524-271-3

Silvia Fishbaum, author of the upcoming Dirty Jewess, remembers her mentor Ludovit Feld

February 14, 2017

9789655242775The unusual bespectacled face of a little 40-year-old man with a black cap atop his head leaving Auschwitz together with surviving children is captured in one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. His tiny body is seen onscreen leaving the camp every day in an endless loop at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.

Far from being forgotten or remembered only as prisoner A-7740, Ludovit Feld (or Lajos Baci – Uncle Lajos) is, twenty-five years after his death, widely recognized and even revered.

This little giant of an artist spent his entire life painting and portraying the people and daily life in his beloved Kassau (Kosice) – the second-largest city in the eastern part of Slovakia, known for its rich Jewish history. He was also an art teacher who taught children how to draw with their heart and many of his students made names for themselves in the world of art.

Feld had three strikes against him: He was a Jew, a dwarf, and poor. The ninth child in his family, he was the only one stricken with a handicap. As an adult he barely reached a height of four feet and the bullying he suffered during a time of growing anti-Semitism was almost too much for his small shoulders to bear.

In the spring of 1944, when he turned 40, Feld’s family and the other Jews in Kosice were loaded onto truck beds and driven to Teglagyar (“brick factory” in Hungarian) on the outskirts of the city, which served as a Jewish ghetto. Nearly thirteen thousand Jews were crammed into that small area.

As it turned out, Ludovit’s name was not on the deportation list due to the intervention of an art student of his who happened to work as a typist in the local Gestapo office. She deliberately omitted his name in the hope of sparing him from almost certain death.

Family was very important to Ludovit, so after a sleepless night he filled his little backpack with art supplies and walked to the brick factory ghetto. His family was happy to be reunited with him but knew his chances of survival were much greater outside the ghetto gates. Every day he would sit on his little stool drawing countless scenes of daily life in the ghetto, portraying the despair and the grief and the ever-present armed guards.

When they were deported to Auschwitz, Feld, because of his size, was assigned to the children’s barracks housing the twin boys known to history as the “ Twins of Auschwitz,” victims of the unspeakably sadistic experiments of the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele. Although he never had any children of his own, Feld became a father figure to all the twins. He rescued fifteen boys he believed wouldn’t survive the last death march by hiding with them for ten days and nights under the lowest bunks on the frozen ground. The boys in their testimonies all referred to Ludovit as their savior.

Feld’s entire family, with the exception of a sister and a brother, perished in Auschwitz. After the war he returned to his beloved city where he lived alone until his death.It was in Auschwitz that Mengele discovered Feld’s talent and, together with Czech artist Dina Gottlieb and Polish photographer Wilhelm Brasse, became part of the team drawing and documenting the doctor’s hideous experiments. Because Feld was a dwarf he was also subject to Mengele’s depravity. Adding insult to injury, Mengele demanded that Feld draw portraits of him so often that Ludovit could practically do it with his eyes closed. Read the rest of this entry »


Review of Memoirs of a Hopeful Pessimist

January 16, 2017

A Collection of Light-Hearted Autobiographical Stories
By Martin Lockshin

The State of Israel appropriately takes pride in its many achievements. In technology, science, research as well as militarily, Israel’s success seems unprecedented, especially considering its small population. Advanced Jewish studies and many varied forms of Jewish culture thrive. Historians say that never before in history has such a high percentage of Jews had expert-level knowledge of Jewish texts.

On the social level, however, the picture in Israel is far from rosy. While Israel’s raison d’être is the ingathering of exiles to build a new society together, serious tensions abound between Jews who are Ashkenazi and Sephardi, religious and secular, and haredi (ultra- or fervently Orthodox) and non-haredi. Women’s rights are more fraught than in most western democracies, because of the religious-secular divide and the lack of separation of religion and state. Israeli supporters and opponents of the settlements often do not even talk about their differences – it’s just too painful. Tensions between the 80 per cent of the population who are Jewish and the 20 per cent who are Muslim or Christian are part of everyday existence. Read the rest of this entry »


Book Launch: Memoirs of a Hopeful Pessimist

December 7, 2016

hopeful-pessimist-web-1Thursday evening, December 22, at 8 p.m. at Kehilat Yedidya, 12 Lifschitz Street in Bak’a.

MC for the evening: Linda Gradstein.

Panelists: Noomi Stahl and Dr. Yoni Moss, with response by Debbie.

Short musical program and light refreshments.

Book available for purchase and signing.

For more information, visit the event page here.