The Queen & the Spymaster

August 30, 2019

Midwest Book ReviewGeneral Fiction Shelf

“The Queen & The Spymaster” is a deftly crafted and simply riveting novel by Sandra E. Rapoport that is based on the story of Esther, and adheres to the ancient biblical text while imagining the suspenseful, gripping and ultimately triumphant backstory of the unlikely heroes of Xerxes’ Persia.

Certain to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to community library Historical Fiction collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “The Queen & The Spymaster” is also available in a digital format 

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“Weiss propounds ‘Open Orthodoxy’ in new book”

August 29, 2019

Fred Reiss, Ed.D. ● San Diego Jewish World

Reform Judaism in eighteenth century Germany and Hasidism in the Ukraine in the same century represent the first modern ruptures in traditional Judaism; the former due to European emancipation, the latter a spiritual revival movement. The freedoms granted by American democracy led to further balkanization, including Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Humanistic Judaism. Orthodox Judaism is not without its own divisions, such as Haredi Jews and the Modern Orthodox.

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Was Yosef on the Spectrum?

August 25, 2019

Professor Michael Fitzgerald, M.D., FRC Psych, M. Inst. Psychoanal. 

Professor Samuel J. Levine’s book, Was Yosef on the Spectrum?, is a magnificent scholarly work and most interesting.  Levine sets out the diagnostic issue very clearly and very carefully, and his analysis of the character of Joseph is very persuasive.  Overall, I came to the conclusion that the book’s thesis stands up to scrutiny, and that the title is probably correct.

Professor Fitzgerald was the Henry Marsh Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Trinity College, Dublin, and the first Professor of Child Psychiatry in Ireland.  He has a doctorate in the area of autism and has been a researcher in this area since 1973.  He has clinically diagnosed over 2600 individuals with Autism and Asperger’s syndrome.  

The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values: Between Man and Man

August 4, 2019

Ben Rothke Jewish Link of New Jersey

This is volume three of Amsel’s encyclopedia series. Here, he covers a wide range of topics on the interpersonal level including subjects from business ethics, modesty with dress, self-defense, to peer pressure, physical beauty and ugliness; privacy vs. community, and much more.

At about 5-10 pages per topic, Amsel does an excellent job of surveying the topic. He provides copious sources for those that want to do a deeper dive in the topic. This is a most worthwhile reference.


Book Review: “Jews in Medicine”

July 15, 2019

Oliver PollakSan Diego Jewish World

This 464-page encyclopedic reference book starts with the Talmud and comes into the present including still living practitioners. The author identifies Jewish physicians in Islamic and Christian lands before the 1492 expulsion from Spain. About 70 percent of the book is devoted to the Modern Era marked by the Age of Specialization. The basic sciences include bacteriology, microbiology, infectious diseases, biochemistry, cell biology, DNA-RNA research, genetics, immunology, pharmacology, and physiology.

The Clinical Medicine section covers cardiology, cardiac surgery, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, internal medicine, medical imaging, radiation oncology, neurology, neurosurgery, neuropsychology, obstetrics/gynecology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, pathology, pediatrics, psychiatry, psychology, surgery, virology as well as public health, prizes, medical education, medical administration, closing with physicians and medicine in the State of Israel…

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Book Review: Was Yosef On The Spectrum?

June 27, 2019

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer ● The New Normal ● The New York Jewish Week

The story of Joseph is among the Torah’s best-known and most intriguing tales.  In a new book, Was Yosef On The Spectrum? Understanding Joseph Through Torah, Midrash and Classical Jewish SourcesSamuel J. Levine, a professor of Law and Director of the Jewish Law Institute at Touro Law Center, presents a thorough, compelling theory about why Yosef struggles with social understanding—not only in childhood but also throughout his adult life.

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The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values, Between Man and Man

June 25, 2019

Midwest Book Review ● The Judaic Studies Shelf

Rabbi Dr. Nachum Amsel is the director of education at the Destiny Foundation and the author of The Jewish Encyclopedia of Moral and Ethical Issues and The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values. With “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values: Between Man and Man” Rabbi Amsel provides a continuation to his widely praised “Encyclopedia of Jewish Values”.

“The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values: Between Man and Man” is a deftly organized compendium of Jewish values and ethics that deal with human interaction. The topics addressed in this work include Jewish attitudes to leadership, business ethics, modesty with dress, self-defense, peer pressure, family, friendships, and more.

Gleaning from the Bible and classic Jewish texts, as well as later authorities such as Maimonides, Nachmanides, Rashi, and the Code of Jewish Law, “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values: Between Man and Man” is accessible to readers of many backgrounds.

“The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values: Between Man and Man” covers a veritable compendium topics that range from: Animals – How Jews Should Relate; Antisemitism and Amalek; Business Ethics; Civil Disobedience; Climate Change – Is It a Jewish Issue? and Drugs, Alcohol & Marijuana – Are They Ever Permitted in Judaism?; Ethics of Torture in Judaism; Family – the Key to Jewish and World; Redemption; Friendship; Getting Old, Being Old and Senility; to Going Beyond What is Required: Good Idea or Obligatory?; Honesty and Cheating; Human Dignity, Human Embarrassment, and Humiliating Oneself; Individuality and Conformity; Jewish Happiness; Jewish Hospitality – Hachnasat Orchim; Jewish Leadership – What is It?; Universal Healthcare (Obamacare) from the Jewish Perspective; and so much more!

Critique: Deftly organized alphabetically from Advertising to War, “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values: Between Man and Man” is enhanced for easier access with a five page Index and a complete listing of Hebrew Sources. An impressively organized and presented work of meticulous and exhaustive scholarship, “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Values: Between Man and Man” is unreservedly recommended for personal, synagogue, community, college, and university library Judaic Studies collections and supplemental curriculum reading lists.