Reclaiming Humanity

July 1, 2018

Midwest Book Review • Julie Summers

Reclaiming Humanity web1Synopsis: The inner world of a healthy child is filled with wonder, awe, and faith in a fair and just world. But for some children, a belief in the benevolence of the world and its people is often too hard to claim.

A unique guidebook, “Reclaiming Humanity: A Guide to Maintaining the Inner World of the Child Facing Ongoing Trauma” by Dr. Norman Fried (a clinical psychologist and a disaster mental health specialist for the American Red Cross of Greater New York) gives the reader valuable insights into the lives of children who have been victimized by chaos and disease, and teaches how to help them grow within the context of a loving, accepting, and ethical bond.

Using ‘real Read the rest of this entry »

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Nefesh HaTzimtzum

June 17, 2018

Yitzhak Y. Melamed • Jewish Review of Books

NefeshHatzimtzumVolumeOne9789655241655             NefeshHatzimtzumVolumeTwo9789655241778

…Fraenkel’s attempt to harmonize the apparently conflicting views on the tzimtzum is highly valuable. In the first place, Fraenkel’s claim is well argued and meticulously grounded in the sources, and thus deserves serious consideration. Second, Fraenkel’s reading goes against the main trend of interpretation in both the academic world of Kabbalah studies and that of Chabad historiography, which follows the last Lubavitcher Rebbe in stressing the opposition between Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi and Rabbi Chaim on tzimtzum….

It is a work of both real piety and ingenious scholarship.

Fraenkel is a computer scientist by training and profession as well as an independent scholar, and it would be hard to overestimate the amount of intellectual effort, courage, precision, and diligence invested in these two volumes. Books such as this are rare, but if I may quote the words of another God-seeking Jew: “All things excellent are as difficult as they are rare.”

 

 


Heal Us O Lord

April 29, 2018

Midwest Book Review • The Judaic Studies Shelf

Heal us O Lord

“Heal Us O Lord: A Chaplain’s Interface With Pain” is the personal memoir of Rabbi Sidney Goldstein. It’s the deftly told story of a chaplain who encounters the traumas of life as he visits with those who are in the throes of experiencing them.

“Heal Us O Lord” expresses the challenges faced by chaplains in providing support during some of the most crucial and painful times of life without being enveloped by them personally. Rabbi Goldstein offers a source of encouragement and council for those whose lives might crave spirituality but do not know where to turn.

A candid and impressively informative memoir, “Heal Us O Lord” is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to personal reading lists, as well as synagogue, community, and academic library Contemporary American Biography in general, and Judaic Studies supplemental studies lists in particular.


Am I My Body’s Keeper?Torah, Science, Diet, and Fitness – for Life

December 3, 2017

Reviewed by By Rosally Saltsman in The Jewish Press

body's keeper 1

Am I My Body’s Keeper is octogenarian Michael Kaufman’s ninth book. Kaufman writes prolifically on Jewish thought and this book is no different because keeping fit and healthy is a Jewish precept.

Venishmartem Meod Lenafshoteichem (Devarim 4:15).

Am I My Body’s Keeper? The answer is Read the rest of this entry »


Why does Yom Kippur end with “Hashem Hu Ha-Elokim”?

September 28, 2017

To hear some potential answers, check out this video from “Ohr HaShachar: Torah, Kabbalah and Consciousness in the Daily Blessings” author David Bar-Cohn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF9byjr6Ea8

 

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Rabbi David Bar-Cohn holds an MA in clinical psychology and maintains a psychotherapy practice. He also works in music and video production and is the creator of a children’s musical video series. 

 

 

 

 


Review of From Mourning to Morning

November 28, 2016

 

From Mourning to MorningIn the pages of “From Mourning to Morning: A Comprehensive Guide to Mourning, Grieving, and Bereavement”, Rabbi Simeon Schreiber (Senior Staff Chaplain at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida), translates his many years of experience and considerable expertise into a greater understanding of the emotions surrounding death, grieving, mourning, and bereavement in Judaism. From “Mourning to Morning” deftly presents these principles in a comprehensive format. Focusing on the Shiva, the seven day period of mourning in Judaism, Rabbi Schreiber explains the foundation of visiting a house of mourners, and suggests proper etiquette in conducting a visit. With sensitivity and expertise, Rabbi Schreiber provides unique and practical advise on how to cope with death, mourning, and the related issues that we all will inevitably face. Impressively well written, organized and presented, “From Mourning to Morning” is unreservedly recommended.

This review originally appeared on Midwest Book Review.


Review of Living in the Shadow of Death: A Rabbi Copes with Cancer 

October 26, 2016

 

by Jack Riemer

Public figures are not allowed a private life. And so, when an oncologist has cancer, or when a politician has pneumonia, or when a rabbi becomes seriously ill, his battle has to be shared with his or her community. And sometimes, a certain suspicion takes place. How can he be a cancer doctor when he cannot protect himself from this diease? How can she be a leader when she herself has taken ill? How can he teach us how to live the way God wants us to when he himself has become seriously sick?

Rabbi Stuart G. Weinblatt understood this truth when he found out that he had cancer just when he was about to leave on a synagogue tour to Israel. Instead of trying to hide his illness, he wrote an e mail to the entire congregation, telling them what he was going through and promising to keep them informed. He went through his first chemotherapy and then left for Israel to catch up with the synagogue tour. And when he came back, he began preparing for a High Holy Days that he knew would be different, both for him and for his people, than any that they had ever experienced before.

The service was pretty much the same as usual, except for the fact that this year he could not shake hands or hug everyone as he went around behind the Torah for fear of catching anything while his immune system was weak, and except for the fact that when he announced the Prayer for the Sick and invited all those who had someone whom they cared about who was ill to rise for the prayer, the entire congregation rose in support for him.

The service may have been pretty much the same, but the sermon that day was different, because Rabbi Weinblatt spoke about what he was learning from the illness that he was struggling with. What he said that day was not very different from what he had said many times before, and from what every other rabbi has  said on the High Holy Days, but this time his sermon had a note of urgency to it that made the obvious truths that he uttered feel powerfully true.

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