March 15, 2015
By Alan Jay Gerber
With the onset of Pesach, I find the study of the historical and philosophical side of our religious tradition to be of great inspiration in getting myself into the “holiday mood.” Thus, this week’s essay will focus on two works by Rabbi Dov Lipman that should help assist many in getting into this holiday mood.
The spiritual quest that Rabbi Lipman focuses on in his works, “Discover” (Feldheim, 2006) and “Seder Savvy” (Targum Press, 2010) describe in eloquent and intelligent terms the basic elements that make up the beliefs of our sacred tradition.
“Discover” goes to the very heart of our tradition by dealing, in great detail, with such topics as Torah MiSinai, Torah She’baal Peh, the purpose of Creation, and the role of prayer and study. Some profound and heartfelt teachings are found in his essays on Women in Judaism, Suffering and Tragedies, Death, the Resurrection of the Dead, and the coming of Moshiach.
In his personal approbation to this work, Rabbi Aharon Feldman, Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Yisrael, wrote the following: Read the rest of this entry »
May 28, 2013
by Hadassah Sabo Milner
I was recently sent this book to review, and although it took me a couple of weeks to get to it, once I picked it up I did not want to put it down.
I am a big reader – but I don’t usually go for Jewish-themed books, having found many of them in the past to be twee and self-serving, pushing religion down my throat. When I read, I want to lose myself in a story, I want to be carried along with the narrator, to be a bystander as events unfold. I don’t want lectures on how to be a better person.
Nicole Nathan’s book has made me re-evaluate the Jewish-theme book embargo. While Judaism and Pesach were central to the theme of her book, it wasn’t shove-down-your-throat religion.
Yes, there were a couple of scenes where I thought the “gam zu letovah” (everything happens for the good) angle was a tad overdone, but other than that, I really enjoyed this book.
The Berkovitz family, baalei teshuva, live in Middleton, Canada and one year decide that instead of making Pesach at home, they would rent an RV (Recreational Vehicle) and shlepp their family down south to a Florida trailer park for the holiday. They convince their close friends to join them, and their adventure begins. It’s more than just a road trip – it’s a spiritual journey, a quest to find meaning.
Pauline, Mrs Berkovitz, is the chronicler of this trip, and interspersed between relating events she discusses her faith and her journey to religious Judaism. She questions many things, and Read the rest of this entry »
May 26, 2013
From Trip’n Up:
I have to admit it, I have always wanted to take an RV vacation. Keeping kosher on vacations in the US is a challenge. The idea that you could bring the “hotel” with you and with a kitchen to boot, always sounded like a great adventure. Unfortunately, I never got the chance. It seems RVs are not as popular in Israel and anyway, you have access to kosher food throughout the country.
Time for another true confession – I hate Pesach cleaning. I know, I know, I am not the only one. There are women out there who relish the Spring cleaning aspect of it though. I’ve met them. I don’t understand them. I will do anything to avoid cleaning, especially Pesach cleaning.
Let My RV Go is a story about journeys. The Berkovitz and Shapiro family travel from frigid Canada to sunny Florida in their RVs. As Baalei Teshuva, they all have been on a spiritual journey and we learn about their pursuits to balance their lives and reconcile their present with their past. Pauline especially struggles to fit in to her new life. Their interactions with each other, and those they meet on their trip, remind us that life is a journey and we all have things to teach one another.
A Pesach without scrubbing the house from top to bottom and an RV adventure. This book had great potential from the start. Add to it a light, readable text, humorous anecdotes, and a moving journey, and you have the perfect novel for pre-Pesach craziness.