Review: Encyclopedia of Jewish Values: Between Man and Man

September 24, 2019

Randall C. and Anne-Marie Belinfante ● AJL News and Reviews

In this, the third of Rabbi Nachum Amsel’s Encyclopedias, the author continues to explicate the values and principles that underlie Jewish laws and precepts as they apply to contemporary Jews. In particular, this volume focuses on those laws governing interaction between Jews and the people around them, be they Jewish or otherwise. Amsel covers a diverse range of issues: in addition to considering topics such as war, modesty, tzedakah, and hospitality, he considers more seemingly “modern” concerns such as climate change, advertising and universal health care, weighing how Jewish legal sources apply to them.

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#MindfulMondays

September 16, 2019

Join the workshop taking place at Brooklyn College on Monday nights!


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 


“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.


BD”E Leila Leah Bronner

July 25, 2019

Julie Gruenbaum Fax ● Jewish Journal

Leila Leah Bronner, a Jewish history and Bible scholar died in Los Angeles on July 2. She was 89.

Bronner was a community leader and Orthodox feminist and the first woman to receive a doctorate in Bible and Jewish studies in South Africa. The author of eight books, Bronner contributed hundreds of articles to scholarly and popular publications. She was an assistant professor at the University of Judaism (now American Jewish University) in Los Angeles, a visiting professor at Harvard University, Bar Ilan University in Israel and USC, and a frequent presenter at academic conferences around the world. A resident of Hancock Park for the past 35 years, Bronner also taught Shabbat afternoon Torah classes for women out of her home. 

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