New Review -Jewish Guide to Practical Medical Decision-Making

November 15, 2018

Barbara Bensoussan • Mishpacha Magazine

Of Life and Death

Jason Weiner never dreamed he’d be a hospital chaplain. But the nationally recognized expert on medical halachah and pastoral counseling helps Jewish patients make the most important decisions of their life.

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With close to 1,000 patient beds, Cedars Sinai Hospital on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles is a small village. It includes multiple buildings and four parking lots. The hospitals’ interiors are modern and sleek, with spacious rooms and high-ceilinged lobbies adorned with framed modern art work. To make its affiliation clear, a white Magen David hangs atop the main building. Read the rest of this entry »

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New Review – Jewish Guide to Practical Medical Decision-Making

November 11, 2018

Judy Simon • Arutz Sheva

The Fine Line Between Life and Death: The Hospital Rabbi

Medical Decisions web 1

Rabbi Jason Weiner is a hospital chaplain. He guides people through intense moments in life, death, and everything in between.

When Rabbi Jason Weiner finished Rabbinical School and acquired Smicha (rabbinic ordination), the one thing he knew is that he never wanted to work in a hospital setting.

Apparently, G-d had other plans for him. Read the rest of this entry »


New Review – Jewish Guide to Practical Medical Decision-Making

November 5, 2018

Rabbi Ari Kahn • Explorations

Medical Decisions web 1Compassion and Healing

Jewish medical ethics is a robust field, which quickly grows as the medical and scientific inquiry advances. While many volumes have been written on Jewish medical ethics, Jason Weiner’s Jewish Guide to Practical Medical Decision-Making  is unique. Rabbi Weiner has written an excellent and important work from a perspective unlike others who have addressed  this topic. While previous studies have been published by experts in Halacha, or experts in medicine, or experts in ethics. Rabbi Weiner may, in fact, be all of the these, but first and foremost he is a chaplain; he works in a hospital, and deals with patients on a daily basis. While I have studied, taught, and even given psak(halachic rulings) in many of the areas discussed in this book, my involvement is often theoretical. Reading actual cases, and learning from Rabbi Weiner’s experience, sensitivity, and wisdom, is both instructive and invaluable.

One powerful example begins on p.93: Rabbi Weiner describes his interaction with the parents of a child suffering from what turned out to be a terminal illness. These parents  asked if they were permitted to pray for their son’s recovery, and Rabbi Weiner answered in the affirmative. When the illness took their son’s life, the devastated parents criticized the rabbi for allowing them to foster false hope.[1]

Read the rest of this entry »


New Book – Was Yosef on the Spectrum

November 1, 2018

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New Review – Song of Teshuva 4

October 31, 2018

Midwest Book Review • Judaic Studies

song of teshuva 4Abraham Isaac Kook (7 September 1865 – 1 September 1935) was an Orthodox rabbi, the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of British Mandatory Palestine, the founder of Yeshiva Mercaz HaRav Kook (The Central Universal Yeshiva), a Jewish thinker, Halakhist, Kabbalist, and a renowned Torah scholar, and arguably one of the most celebrated and influential rabbis of the 20th century. Rabbi Kook’s seminal work on repentance, Oros HaTeshuvah, is recognized as a classic of Jewish thought but has, because of its difficult language and its theological depth, remained inaccessible to many. “Song of Teshuvah” presents readers with the original Hebrew text of Oros HaTeshuvah with a new translation into English, as well as expert commentary in English from Rabbi Moshe Weinberger.

Weinberger draws on his extensive knowledge of Jewish philosophical and inspirational literature to provide profound, moving, and fresh insights into the text, richly explicating the ideas in Oros HaTeshuvah in an accessible and clear but not superficial manner. Readers will come away with a firm grasp on the profound truth at the heart of Kook’s classic work: that teshuvah (repentance) is not a somber process of self-deprivation but a joyful journey back to God and to the core of each individual.

“Song of Teshuvah” covers chapters 14 through 17 of Oros HaTeshuvah and is the fourth and final volume in this simply outstanding series. “Song of Teshuvah” is unreservedly recommended for synagogue, college, and university library Judaic Studies collections in general, and Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook supplemental studies reading lists in particular.


Kaytek the Wizard – Recognition Award

October 17, 2018

Kaytek the Wizard

Kaytek the Wizard (written by Janusz Korczak in 1933 and translated into English by Antonia-Lloyd Jones) first premiered as a puppet play in 2016 (BriAnimations Living Entertainment).  This production has been performed across the U.S., from Tennessee to Maine to California, at festivals, schools and performing arts centers.

Image by Erika Chambers www.facebook.com/erikachambersphotography

At the August 2018 International Korczak Conference in Seattle, Washington, the production won a recognition award for introducing audiences to this man who is often referred to as “The King of Children”.

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A short preview of the puppet play can be seen here.


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.