Review of Redeeming Relevance in the Book of Numbers

May 10, 2015

by Dov Peretz Elkins Redeeming Relevance in the book of numbers

Continuing Rabbi Francis Nataf’s innovative analysis of the Bible’s first five books, this volume focuses on some of the text’s most perplexing stories in the Book of Numbers. It weaves them into discussions about the individual and the community, religious leadership and its abuse, and about communication and disappointment. Taking a new look at Judaism’s most basic text, Rabbi Nataf reads the Bible in ways that make it more accessible and more exciting to study. The remarkable insights in Redeeming Relevance in the Book of Numbers opens up completely new possibilities in the biblical text.

Rabbi Francis Nataf is a Jerusalem-based educator, writer and thinker, and the author of Redeeming Relevance in the Book of Genesis (Urim, 2006) and Redeeming Relevance in the Book of Exodus (Urim, 2010). He has also published numerous articles concerning Jewish education, Bible and Jewish thought. Rabbi Nataf received rabbinic ordination at Yeshiva University and holds degrees in Jewish history and international affairs.


The Jewish Dog: Starred Review from Kirkus

April 15, 2015

In 1930s Germany, an exceptionally intelligent dog is born into a Jewish family.The Jewish Dog9780983868538

Caleb immediately notices that he has some inherent traits that set him apart. Not only is he unusually sensitive to humans’ emotions, he is determined to fully comprehend human speech. These talents, along with his highly developed canine skills, lead to heroism and heartbreak as he negotiates his way through World War II in Europe. All the love he knows comes from the Gottlieb family, as does his understanding of his distinctly Jewish attributes, the most important being his compulsion for survival. A Nazi decree forces the family to part with Caleb. He undergoes several name changes and increasing danger as he becomes ever more deeply involved in the war. At various times he is a stray, part of a wild pack, an SS Nazi guard and attack dog at Treblinka, and a member of an underground cell. Throughout his tribulations he yearns for reunion with the Gottlieb family. Kravitz employs harrowing, detailed imagery and fluidity of language, assuming that readers have more than a cursory knowledge of the era’s events and that they willingly accept and believe a canine narrator who hears heavenly messages from a divine being. The result is powerful and heart-wrenching, and Caleb is unforgettable.

A remarkable achievement.

This review originally appears in Kirkus Reviews